Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking Women’s Equality Agenda will promote fundamental fairness and equality for the women of New York State by ensuring pregnant workers are given fair treatment on the job.
Pregnancy discrimination is a growing problem in New York: many pregnant women have to choose between their health & their paychecks.
- Women make up half the workforce and families rely on women’s salaries to make ends meet. Three-quarters of women entering the workforce will be pregnant and employed at some point in their lives. Some of these women—especially those in physically strenuous jobs—will face a conflict between their duties at work and their health needs..
- Pregnant women frequently get pushed out of their jobs or must take unpaid leave when they request a modest, temporary accommodation at work. This causes economic instability at a time when working families can least afford it.
The Women’s Equality Agenda would protect pregnant workers, improving the health and financial security of New York’s families and our state’s economy.
- The Women’s Equality Agenda would explicitly require employers to provide a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy-related conditions, unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the employer. This law is necessary to codify an already existing Division of Human Rights interpretation and provide a proactive tool for pregnant women. Recent court decisions have added great confusion about this protection and legislative clarity is essential.
- Common examples of appropriate modifications for pregnant workers would include a stool to sit on, more frequent restroom breaks, or relief from heavy lifting. Employers already have to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities—pregnant workers deserve equal treatment.
- The benefits to business of providing reasonable accommodations include employee retention, increasing morale and productivity, and reducing training costs.