A bill mandating certain protections for pregnant workers was sent to Gov. Charlie Baker last month, which will impact business owners if he signs it. Here’s what you should know.
The legislation, called The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, is a compromise bill that reconciled the two slightly different versions that the House and the Senate separately passed earlier this year. It requires that employers offer pregnant women reasonable accommodations on the job, as long as doing so would not impose undue hardship on employers. The State House News Service reported that these accommodations could include more frequent or longer breaks (paid or unpaid), time off to recover from childbirth (paid or unpaid), acquisition or modification of equipment, addition or change to seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for pumping breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules.
Additionally, employers may not refuse to hire a pregnant woman if she requires one of these accommodations, nor can they force a pregnant employee to accept an unwanted accommodation or to take leave if another accommodation could be made. The bill will go into effect on April 1, 2018. Gov. Baker officially signed the bill into law on July 27, 2017.
NFIB/MA monitored the process surrounding this legislation to make sure it didn’t become overly onerous for small business owners.