Pregnant women now have more protection in the workplace
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Lawmakers in Washington last week passed the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill, which gave billions in aid to Ukraine. It also mandated specific protections for pregnant women at work.
Pregnancy can be considered a full-time job on its own with long restless nights and not to mention the pain. Some would argue too often that a mother is forced to choose between a paycheck or the health of her and her baby.
The $1.7 trillion spending bill the president signed last week will make it easier for mothers to return to work.
“Thinking that they’re going to be able to work just like a 25-year-old female or male who’s not pregnant, that’s just not fair,” said Dr. Ralph Dauterive with Oschner in Baton Rouge.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will require employers to provide accommodations for pregnant women, such as better access to water, an increased number of bathroom breaks and less demand on physically demanding tasks.
“Having these capabilities provided by the workplace without punishing or inhibiting a pregnant woman from being able to do this is going to make it easier for them to go through the pregnancy. This does for pregnant women in the workplace what a lot of good companies already do,” Dr. Dauterive said.
There is also the Pump Act, which requires companies to provide designated pumping and feeding stations.
“I think it’s a great thing whenever we can give people to be at work and to take care of their healthcare needs, and I believe that’s a healthcare need,” said state Representative C. Denise Marcelle (D).
As part of the Women’s Caucus for the state, Rep. Marcelle said she and others have passed similar legislation for women in prison, but these news provisions take it a step further.
“And I think as we go along this path, and we see where this will be beneficial to businesses and not necessarily against businesses, we won’t see as much pushback. And at some point, we’ll get there where women will have equal pay for the equal work that they’re doing,” Rep. Marcelle continued.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, less than 2% of all workers across the country are pregnant on a yearly basis.
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