Ministry of Sport

Pregnancy Pay Dispute Forces Nike To Introduce New Policy To Protect Female Athletes

Following a spate of criticism from athletes about Nikes pregnancy policy, the global sportswear giant has sent a letter to its sponsored athletes explaining changes that have been made to their contracts to better support them through pregnancy

Effective immediately, if an athlete becomes pregnant Nike will ‘not apply any performance-related reductions’ for 18 months.

The announcement came via a letter from Nike’s executive of global sports marketing, John Slusher, and was shared by six-time US Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix on social media.

Felix had criticised Nike after accusing them of wanting to pay her 70 per cent less after her pregnancy in 2018 and subsequently signed a deal with Athleta, the Gap-owned women’s sportswear brand.

Nike had also drawn criticism for its pregnancy policy from athletes Kate Goucher, Alysia Montano and Phoebe Wright, alleging the brand had failed to account for pregnancy and maternity in their sponsorship deals.

In response to the letter, Felix wrote on Instagram: ‘Our voices have power.

‘Nike has joined in officially and contractually providing maternal protection to the female athletes they sponsor.’

‘This means that female athletes will no longer be financially penalised for having a child.’

In a statement, Nike said: ‘Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes.

‘In addition to our 2018 policy standardising 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.

Shaun Carney

Shaun Carney