House lawmakers introduce bill to strengthen workplace protections for pregnant women

June 19, 2019 GMT

Lawmakers announced a new push Tuesday to enact workplace protections for pregnant women, moving to ensure businesses make an effort to accommodate them if they wish to stay on the job throughout their pregnancy.

The bill would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations,” including small job modifications. It also bars employers from limiting opportunities based on needs stemming from pregnancy or childbirth.

“No woman should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck, especially when often a simple fix a bottle of water during a shift, an extra bathroom break, a chair will allow women to stay on the job and support their families throughout their pregnancy,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat.


He introduced the same bill last year, earning 131 co-sponsors, but it never saw action in the GOP-controlled House. This year Mr. Nadler is chairman of a key committee and Democrats control the chamber, making prospects for action brighter.

He’s got Republicans Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington state and John Katko of New York as co-sponsors, as well as Democratic Reps. Bobby Scott of Virginia and Lucy McBath of Georgia.

“Under current law, women are not guaranteed reasonable accommodations to remain healthy and in the workforce during pregnancy,” Mr. Katko said. “This bipartisan effort puts in place a uniform, fair and familiar framework for employers and will enable women to keep working safely and provide for their families throughout pregnancy.”