FAIRNESS FOR PREGNANT WORKERS ON THE HILL


By Bob Katzen 

House Bill (S 1023) establishes the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act preventing discrimination based on pregnancy. The measure requires employers to accommodate conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including the need to breast-feed a child unless doing so would create undue hardship on the employer. Current law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against hiring women who are pregnant but does not require that any special accommodation be made for those workers.

   Reasonable accommodations would include many things including allowing a woman to use a stool, giving extra break time and carrying a water bottle.

  Supporters say a pregnant woman should not have to fear losing her job when she is pregnant and when she could continue working with some reasonable adjustments. They say that pregnant women are pushed out of their jobs and often treated worse than other employees with similar limitations. They note that more than half of all pregnant women and new mothers in Massachusetts are in the labor force and earning income to support their families.

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