Statement from Rep. Jessyn Farrell on Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act
January 19, 2016 | By Rep. Jessyn Farrell
Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, has issued the following statement regarding legislation to provide reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant women. Farrell’s bill, HB 2307, passed out of the Labor and Workforce Development committee today.
“No woman should be forced to quit her job because her pregnancy requires frequent restroom breaks or because she can’t stand up for 8 hours.
“House Bill 2307, requires employers, who have more than eight employees, to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, such as the use of a stool, more frequent bathroom breaks, access to food and water, and temporary reassignment to lighter duty.
“My bill, the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act, gives women the tools to actually require employers to make the small changes that promote healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, keep women in the workforce and help businesses by reducing turnover.”
Farrell had the following to say about another bill concerning pregnant workers, HB 2404, which had a public hearing in the same committee today.
“While House Bill 2404 supports some pregnant workers, it doesn’t apply to enough women and it creates unnecessary burdens on women who are trying to work during pregnancy. It exempts all nonprofit employers and employers with less than 15 employees. Even if the bill would apply, the process is so onerous that the new policies will be meaningless to the majority of women who need them – women in low-income, physically demanding restaurant, housekeeping and retail jobs.
“And the bill requires requests in writing, often with an accompanying doctors note, making it too easy for employers to continue current practices where pregnant workers have to choose between risking the health of their baby or keeping their job.”