Legislation

Amendment aims to protect pregnant workers

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Washington – A budget amendment that would bolster protections for pregnant women in the workplace passed the Senate with a 100-0 vote on March 26.

Reasonable accommodations such as being allowed to drink bottled water or using a stool at a cash register would be required as part of the amendment, which is based on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 942). The amendment also would prohibit retaliation against pregnant workers who ask for such accommodations.

Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sponsored the legislation. Several states, including California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Illinois and Texas, already have passed laws similar to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Casey described the Senate’s vote as “a major step forward,” adding that women comprise almost 50 percent of the workforce, and 3 out of 4 women entering the workforce will be pregnant and employed at some point in their careers.

“We now have the opportunity to make it clear that pregnant workers should never live in fear over requesting a reasonable accommodation during their pregnancy,” Casey said in a press release.

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