Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts, released the following statement in response to the Massachusetts legislature’s public hearing today on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:
“Protecting pregnant women from workplace discrimination is an essential part of reproductive freedom. Unfortunately, right here in Massachusetts, pregnant women can be shut out of the workforce simply for needing a bottle of water at their desk, a chair to sit on or even an extra bathroom break during the workday. When employers do not provide reasonable accommodations for expectant mothers, women can be forced to choose between a paycheck and starting or growing their family.”
The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would clarify existing law and prevent discrimination based on pregnancy by requiring employers accommodate conditions related to pregnancy, including the need to express breast milk. Some accommodations may include: more frequent or longer breaks, seating, light duty, assistance with manual labor, temporary transfers to less hazardous positions, and a private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.