Pregnant Worker Protection Bill Passes Committee

Jan 27, 2020

Ashley Phillips testified in support of the bill in front of the Senate committee on Family and Children Services. (Courtesy Indiana General Assembly)

A bill that would require businesses to provide “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers passed through committee Monday. After hours of arguments, the bill now moves to the full Senate.

If passed, the bill would make employers grant pregnant workers job modifications like lighter duties, longer break times, or unpaid time off work. If they don’t, they would be held accountable to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says he authored the bill to combat the state’s high maternal and infant mortality rates.

“The status quo of how we’re doing it now is simply not working,” he says. 

While many spoke in support of it, some like the Indiana Manufacturer's Association and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce opposed it. They say the bill duplicates existing federal disability laws and would just create more litigation. Sen. Mike Gaskill (R-Pendleton) voted against it although saying the intent behind the bill is "noble."

“The execution is very high-handed and punitive towards employers who are providing us with the means of making a living and taking care of our families,” he says. 

With a passing vote from the committee, the bill will advance to the Senate floor next.

Contact Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.