Nike's Future Contracts Will Protect Athletes' Pay During Pregnancy

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Nike's Future Contracts Will Protect Athletes' Pay During Pregnancy
Nike said it "support[s] women as they decide how to be both great mothers and great athletes."
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Nike is changing the way it writes its contracts to protect athletes' pay during pregnancy.

The company announced the change earlier this month following a New York Times op-ed by former Nike athlete and 2012 Olympian Alysia Montaño criticizing the company's maternity policy.

Prior to the new standards, athletes were penalized if they didn't meet performance criteria, even if they were pregnant or had just given birth.

In a different New York Times op-ed, former Nike runner and four-time Olympian Allyson Felix said the company wanted to pay her 70% less after her pregnancy.

Nike said it wanted to make it clear the company "support[s] women as they decide how to be both great mothers and great athletes." The company noted that while it updated its pregnancy policy last year, pay protections will be reflected in athletes' contracts moving forward.

In a memo to employees on Friday, the company specified pregnant athletes would be exempt from the performance requirement for 12 months.

That doesn't include existing contracts. But a Nike spokesman said those athletes would still be protected.