Having faced increased scrutiny regarding its treatment of pregnant athletes, Nike is changing its policy to guarantee a pregnant athlete’s pay and bonuses cannot be cut over the 18-month period covering eight months before an athlete’s due date through 10 months after. Under Nike’s previous policy, which had been updated in 2018, according to a spokesman, that period had lasted 12 months.

“Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes,” a Nike spokesperson wrote in an email. “In addition to our 2018 policy standardizing our approach across all sports to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy, the policy has now been expanded to cover 18 months.”

In a form letter intended for athletes and agents dated Aug. 12 that circulated on social media, Nike Executive Vice President of Global Sports Marketing John Slusher said Nike’s new policy will be inserted into current contracts.

Nike came under fire this spring after several high-profile athletes denounced how Nike and other apparel companies treated them financially after becoming pregnant. Tennis star Serena Williams said Nike supported her during and after her pregnancy, but multiple track and field athletes described problems.

— The Washington Post

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