LABOR LAW NEWS
Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Effective April 1, 2018
By Kelsey Basten
Published on March 29, 2018
In July of 2017, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law an Act establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. It goes into effect on Sunday, April 1, 2018. The law prohibits discrimination against employees based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
Under the amendment, employers are required to:
- Grant reasonable accommodations to new mothers and expecting mothers. This includes:
- More frequent or longer breaks
- Time off to attend a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth
- Modified equipment or seating
- Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
- Job restructuring
- Light duty
- Private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk
- Assistance with manual labor
- Modified work schedule
- Engage in the interactive process. This means that employers must communicate whether the reasonable accommodation exists with employees or job applicants that request accommodation in a timeline, good faith, and interactive manner.
- Provide written notice to existing employees. Employers must provide notice to employees of their right to be free from discrimination by April 1, 2018. The department responsible for enforcing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), has issued Guidance on their website; found here. It includes guidance which may be used to fulfill the notice requirement of the Act.
- Provide written notice in the future. Employers must also provide written notice to all newly hired employees at the start of their employment. Furthermore, employers must provide the information to employees who are pregnant or have a pregnancy-related condition within 10 days of employer notification.
Last, the amendment further explains that a pregnancy-related condition can occur during or after pregnancy. It can include any conditions from morning sickness to lactation.
There are no plans for an update to a GovDocs poster on this Act, as the notice requirement cannot be fulfilled with a labor law poster.
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