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Pregnancy & Parental Leave

The Fair Housing Act includes sex and family status in its protected classes. One form of sex and/or familial discrimination may be the denial of a mortgage loan or mortgage insurance because an applicant is pregnant or on parental leave. 

While an individual is on parental leave and applies for a mortgage, their income level is unnaturally low. A mortgage lender may try to refuse a loan for this reason; however, a parent on parental leave is considered to be on “temporary leave,” meaning that they are still employed. In its Single Family Selling Guide, Fannie Mae clarified that parental leave is defined as “temporary leave” and analogous to short-term medical disability, or other temporary leave types that are acceptable by law or the borrower’s employer.


A bank refuses to consider a woman’s employment income and denies her application for a mortgage because she is on parental leave, despite the woman’s assertion that she will be returning to work and can provide verification.


A lender notices an individual is visibly pregnant and denies them a mortgage loan, stating that they are too high of a risk, due to their pregnancy. 

Mortgage lenders and “return to work”

A mortgage lender cannot:

A mortgage lender can:


A husband and wife apply for a mortgage. Upon learning that the wife is on parental leave, the bank conditions the closing of the loan on her return to work. The wife is on paid parental leave and plans to return to work; however, the bank refuses to consider her income until she actually returns to work. Such actions by a bank constitute discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.


The bank insists that a new parent must earn three paychecks after they return from parental leave before they can close on their loan. The individual is currently working, but the bank will not consider their income until they reach this benchmark. Such actions by a bank constitute discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.

The FHC Can Help With Housing Discrimination.

If you believe you have been the victim of housing discrimination, please call us toll-free at 1-877-979-FAIR to discuss the situation.

Information provided about allegations or complaints of housing discrimination will be kept confidential. We will not report undocumented immigrants to the authorities.

Retaliation is illegal. Any attempt should be immediately reported to the FHC.

Download our Pregnancy & Maternity Leave Fact Sheet (PDF)

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