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Local News

Will County area members of Congress back protections for pregnant workers

Legislation passes House of Representatives

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, speaks to the media and school staff Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, after touring Liberty Elementary School in Bolingbrook, Ill.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, speaks to the media and school staff Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, after touring Liberty Elementary School in Bolingbrook, Ill.

Will County area members of Congress backed legislation to protect pregnant workers.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, H.R. 2694, guarantees basic protections for pregnant workers by establishing a clear-cut right to “reasonable accommodations” so they can continue working without “jeopardizing their pregnancy,” according to a news release.

The bill passed the House of Representatives last week.

U.S. Reps. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, and Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, were all listed as co-sponsors.

“Despite the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act 42 years ago, pregnant women continue to face discrimination and unfair treatment at work,” Underwood said in the release. “Pregnant women are denied access to reasonable accommodations, forced to work under conditions that threaten their health or their pregnancy, and can even lose their job.”

If passed, the bill would establish that private sector employers with more than 15 employees and pubic sector employees must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are not required to make an accommodation if it imposes an undue hardship on their business.

The bill would also establish that pregnant workers cannot be denied employment, face retaliation or be forced to take a pay cut for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

Several civil rights, worker advocate and health groups have supported the bill.

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