The state of New York is taking great strides to help prevent pregnant women from facing discrimination at the workplace by expanding on the current federal law with a new bill called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act that was proposed to the New York City Council on Nov. 27.
As of now, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits businesses with a minimum of 15 employees from firing or demoting expecting women due to their pregnancies, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, moms-to-be must be treated the same way as other job applicants or employees with similar limitations. However, it doesn't require them to make any special accommodations. This is where the new bill steps in.
Small accommodation can go a long way
If passed, moms-to-be would be able to demand certain accommodations recommended by their healthcare providers, such as a more comfortable chair or extra bathroom breaks. This may be especially beneficial for those who are working in retail and who typically don't get to sit down all that much. Moreover, pregnancy can cause symptoms like discomfort, fatigue and the inability to hold one's bladder for an extended period of time.
"I think, to many people, it seems a given that accommodations are made for pregnant workers. I do not think it should be a given in the city of New York. I think people who are expecting a child should have protections codified into law," said sponsor James Vacca, quoted by CBS News.
Know your rights
Although it may be the last thing on your mind, discrimination is illegal and many women are subjected to it after announcing that they're pregnant. This is why it's important for all expectant moms to know their rights, so that they can recognize if they are being treated unfairly.
In addition, women should not feel as if they have to take maternity leave earlier than they should. Some even prefer to work right up until they go into labor, as long as it's approved by their healthcare providers.
What do you think about New York's new bill? Do you think pregnant women should be allowed special accommodations in the workplace? Let our readers know and leave your answers in the comments section!