Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Amendments

Published Dec. 18, 2014

Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Amendments

Illinois enacted Public Act 098-1050, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

The law, known as the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Amendments, modify the Illinois Human Rights Act and took effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Although U.S. employers are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to accommodate people with disabilities, Illinois legislators were concerned that too many employers did not extend the same protections to pregnant workers.

Supporters of the Illinois Pregnancy Accommodation Amendments claimed that previous Illinois workplace laws didn’t go far enough to protect pregnant workers who often need to take unpaid leave during pregnancy or – in some cases – are fired.

What are Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers in Illinois?

Reasonable accommodations allow pregnant workers to continue work without endangering the employee, the employee’s pregnancy, or the pregnant worker’s employment status and long-term job opportunities.

An employer may be able to forgo participation with reasonable accommodation requests if they can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship on the ordinary operation of the business.”

The law applies to:

  • Illinois private employers with 15 or more workers in Illinois during at least 20 weeks each year
  • All governmental employers
  • Companies with public contracts

Examples of Reasonable Accommodation for Pregnant Workers

  • Assistance with load lifting
  • Provision of seating near the work area
  • Allowance of more frequent rest and bathroom breaks
  • Private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk and breastfeeding
  • Part-time or modified work schedules

Illinois Pregnancy Rights Notice Requirement

All Illinois workplaces are required to display a new posting that contains information on pregnant worker’s rights. The posting is required in English, but employers may also post a Spanish version, but the Spanish version is not required.

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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