Requires the provisions of reasonable accommodations for pregnant women.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring the provisions of reasonable accommodations for pregnant women
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends section 292 of the Executive Law to expand the definition of 'reasonable accommodation' to include actions taken by an employer to address the needs of employees who are pregnant.
Section 2 amends section 296 of the Executive Law to make it illegal to refuse to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee for conditions related to pregnancy.
Section 3 establishes the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Current workplace laws are inadequate to protect pregnant New Yorkers from being forced out or fired when they need a simple, reasonable accommodation in order to stay on the job. Many pregnant women are single mothers or the primary breadwinners for their families -if they lose their jobs then the whole family will suffer, including newborns and older children. This is not an outcome that families can afford in today's difficult economy.
Under New York Law, employers are not required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women (unless she has a pregnancy related disability). As a result, pregnant women are often forced to take unpaid leave or are fired for requesting a small accommodation. For example, a New York waitress can be fired because she is 8 months pregnant and needs more frequent restroom breaks.
The reasonable accommodation framework has worked for employers who are required to accommodate people with disabilities. Unlike most disabilities, pregnancy is only temporary, and pregnancy accommodations are often less costly to employers since additional equipment is usually unnecessary. California has enacted similar legislation. The most frequent accommodations involve limits on lifting, access to places to sit, and more frequent bathroom breaks.
Working during pregnancy can be a beneficial choice for many women. By working extra months, women can earn additional income and achieve increased seniority. Moreover, women who work during pregnancy may be able to take a longer period of leave following childbirth, which in turn facilitates breastfeeding, bonding with and caring for a new child, and recovering from childbirth. Pregnant women who are forced to leave their jobs often have no choice but to use government resources such as public assistance, Medicaid and WIC, draining taxpayer funds. A pregnancy reasonable accommodation law can lead to taxpayer savings while also keeping women in the workforce.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS TO THE STATE:
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6273 IN SENATE January 19, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. KRUEGER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring the provisions of reasonable accommodations for pregnant women THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 21-e of section 292 of the executive law, as added by chapter 269 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows: 21-e. The term "reasonable accommodation" means actions taken which permit an employee, prospective employee or member with a disability, A CONDITION RELATING TO PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH OR A RELATED MEDICAL CONDI- TION, to perform in a reasonable manner the activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held and include, but are not limited to, provision of an accessible worksite, acquisition or modification of equipment, support services for persons with impaired hearing or vision, job restructuring and modified work schedules; provided, however, that such actions do not impose an undue hardship on the business, program or enterprise of the entity from which action is requested. S 2. Subdivision 1 of section 296 of the executive law is amended by adding a new paragraph (h) to read as follows: (H) FOR AN EMPLOYER TO REFUSE TO PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR AN EMPLOYEE FOR CONDITIONS RELATED TO PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH OR RELATED MEDICAL CONDITIONS, IF SHE SO REQUESTS, WITH THE ADVICE OF HER HEALTH- CARE PROVIDER. S 3. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14085-01-2