Washington Senate Passes Pregnancy Outcome Bill On International Women's Day

Mar 8, 2017
Originally published on March 8, 2017 5:21 pm

On International Women’s Day, some women walked out of their workspaces or wore the color red in solidarity. Women in the Washington Senate showed off their scarlet themed wardrobes, but didn’t travel too far. Instead, they helped pass legislation supporting pregnant working women in Washington.

State Sen. Karen Keiser, a Democrat from Des Moines, sponsored the bill. It aims to reduce infant mortality rates and improve working conditions for expecting mothers.

“The Healthy Outcomes In Pregnancy bill has been a long time coming,” Keiser said. “We’ve been working on it for a few years.”

Current law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with a disability. That applies to pregnant women if a medical issue arises during their pregnancy.

But this bill bars employers from claiming “undue hardship” while providing accommodations specifically for pregnant women. That includes more flexible bathroom breaks, modified food and drink policies, and allowing them to sit down more often.

The bill would also give life to a 20-member Healthy Pregnancy Outcome Committee through the Department of Health. It passed the chamber 48-0.

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