New law secures pregnant women's rights at work

By  | 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -- A new law going in to effect Thursday in Kentucky will protect pregnant women from any workplace discrimination.

Senate Bill 18, known as The Kentucky Pregnant Worker's Act, clarifies employers' responsibilities when it comes to making reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. This means it will now be unlawful for an employer to to fail to make any accommodations affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.

Such accommodations include more frequent or longer breaks, lighter duty, and private space, that is not a bathroom, for breast feeding.

Pregnancy advocacy organization, Two Hearts Pregnancy Care Center in Ashland says they are excited to see this law to protect women.

"A lot of them will hide their pregnancy for a long time from their employers because they're afraid that they might lose their job," said Becky Clere.

The bi-partisan bill was sponsored by several law makers, including Robin Webb (D), who represents Carter, Greenup, and Boyd Counties. It will make it unlawful for an employer to fail to accommodate a pregnant employee and will require employers to provide notice to employees regarding these rights.

"In our experience, we see girls whose employers really sometimes give them a hard time because of some of the restrictions that are put on them and they have to go on maternity leave early," said Clere.

Clere says the new law will alleviate any unnecessary stress on women who are expecting.

"Stress is not good for anybody, especially a pregnant woman, and if she is able to go in to a job and feel secure...it goes a long way in helping her to be healthier."