The Law @ Work

Are You Ready for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?

by Marylou V. Fabbo

Last week, the Massachusetts House voted 149-0 in favor of H.3680, An Act establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.  It is now headed for the Senate.  If it’s passed, employers that are not already doing so would have to make workplace accommodations for pregnant employees.  Accommodations could include more frequent or longer breaks, modified work schedules, and/or temporary transfers to less strenuous positions.  As when accommodating a disability, employers who demonstrate that the proposed accommodation for the pregnant worker would create an undue hardship, which is defined as something “requiring significant difficulty or expense,” would not have to provide the accommodation.  Although the Act still needs to clear the Senate, it has wide support from both employee and employer groups, including the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and is expected to pass.  As it currently stands, the Act would become effective January 1, 2018.

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