As a working mom to three young kids, I was fortunate to have a job that allowed me to make the changes I needed to stay on the job during my pregnancies. As a legislator, though, I know that not all women are so fortunate [“Accommodating pregnant workers is key step toward gender equality,” Opinion, Dec. 29].
Pregnant workers, particularly those who work physically demanding jobs, need temporary accommodations during pregnancy, such as more frequent restroom breaks, time off for prenatal-care appointments and temporary reassignment to lighter-duty tasks during the final months of pregnancy.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, would allow pregnant women to stay in the workforce without risking their own health or the health of their babies.
Republicans in the state Senate have sought to water down this critical bill by reducing the number of businesses that would have to follow the law and by limiting accommodations to a short, prescriptive list that doesn’t take into account many potential pregnancy-related conditions. Some 40 percent of pregnant workers required accommodations that are not included on this list.
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I strongly urge my colleagues in the Senate to approve this common-sense legislation without excessive exemptions and prescriptive lists, and ensure that no woman has to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck.
State Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle