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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: July 10, 2023 11:23 AM
From: Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti
To: All Senate members
Subject: Workplace Accommodations for Pregnant Individuals
I will soon reintroduce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, legislation to require employers in the Commonwealth to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant employees. Last session, I introduced this bill as SB716, which was a companion to Representative Delozier’s HB990.  

Three-quarters of women entering the labor force will be pregnant and employed at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, pregnancy discrimination continues to be a problem in Pennsylvania and across the country. Pregnant workers are often forced out of the workplace, or required to work in unsafe conditions, leading to  long-term detrimental impacts on both their health and their family’s economic security. Usually, the accommodations pregnant employees need are minor, such as sitting on a stool or having a water bottle nearby. While there are federal, state, and local laws that protect pregnant workers, there are significant gaps in these statutes. 
This legislation will make it unlawful for an employer to refuse an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation, unless doing so would represent an undue hardship to the employer. Reasonable accommodations include providing periodic rest or a chair for an employee who stands for a long period of time, assistance with heavy lifting, access to drinking water, uncompensated break time and temporary job restructuring. Additionally, the legislation will forbid employers from denying employment opportunities to employees based on their request for accommodations. I believe this is a commonsense proposal that protects the health of pregnant persons, while at the same time not imposing a significant burden on our state’s employers.  
Congress recently passed the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure that pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace are provided reasonable accommodations. This closed a glaring loophole in federal discrimination law, but it leaves out many workers. In addition to federal protections, thirty states have state pregnant workers fairness laws on their books. It is time Pennsylvania is added to this list. No one should have to choose between their job, and a healthy and safe pregnancy. I encourage all members to join me in this important effort. 

Introduced as SB995