Effective April 1st, 2018, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, employers (with six or more employees) are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an employee who is pregnant or who has a condition related to pregnancy such as morning sickness, lactation, or the need to express breast milk.
The act requires employers to reasonably accommodate all pregnant employees, just as they are required to reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities. In short, an employer must engage in the interactive process with the employee or prospective employee to try to identify a reasonable accommodation that enables the employee or prospective employee to perform essential functions of their position. The act specifically states obligation to accommodate employees with a need to express breast milk for a nursing child.
Examples of accommodations:
More frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks.
Time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or to recover from childbirth with or without pay.
Acquisition or modification of equipment.
Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position.
Private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.
Assistance with manual labor.
Modified work schedules.
Notice Requirements of Employee Rights
- Employers must provide employees with written notice of their rights under the act via a “handbook, pamphlet or other means.”
- Employers must provide notice to newly-hired employees at the time of hire.
- Employers must provide notice to any employee who notifies the employer of her pregnancy. Such notice must be provided within 10 days of such notification.
For more information:
Visit Mass.gov and MCAD Guidance on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
And see the MASSACHUSETTS COMMISSION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION
Current Federal Legislation:
Breastfeeding and the healthcare reform landscape is information on Federal Legislation compiled by the United States Breastfeeding Committee