Drawing flak for its treatment of pregnant athletes, Nike changes policy

Updated: Aug 18, 2019, 08:06 IST | Agencies

"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. The new policy will be inserted into current contracts

Drawing flak for its treatment of pregnant athletes, Nike changes policy
Jo Pavey

Washington: British distance runner Jo Pavey has become the latest athlete to complain that Nike, a brand which runs frequent ad campaigns based on gender equality, halted her sponsorship payments when she was pregnant.

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. The new policy will be inserted into current contracts.

Athletes speak up

In May, sprinter Allyson Felix (in pic) wrote that contract renewal talks broke down after Nike offered to pay her 70 per cent of her previous salary and refused to guarantee she wouldn't be financially punished for performing below her standard in the months before and after her childbirth. Distance runner Kara Goucher, too, said she felt forced to train, owing to financial pressure, rather than caring for her newborn.

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