Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Key Committee, Advances to House Floor

Malden’s legislative delegation instrumental in moving bill forward

BOSTON – The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act cleared a key legislative committee this month and could be taken up by the House of Representatives as early as this week.

The bill would offer pregnant women enhanced protections in the workplace including access to bathroom breaks, relief from lifting heavy objects, and the right to a chair or seat. The state legislature’s Joint Committee on labor and Workforce Development favorably reported the bill and recommended its passage.

The bill, which also takes employer concerns into account, found big support among Malden’s legislators. The committee is co-chaired by Representative Paul Brodeur (D – Melrose) and Senator Jason Lewis (D – Winchester). Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) is a member of the committee as well as a co-sponsor of the bill.

“During the hearing process we heard from women who were mistreated by their bosses, and the need for this law became apparent,” said House Chairman Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose). “I’m a proud advocate for women’s health, and I see this bill as a great example of collaboration and teamwork between advocates and the business community.”

“A woman who is pregnant is no less equal and no less valued as a member of the workforce,” said Senate Chairman Jason Lewis.  “The protections included in this legislation are commonsense and simply prevent mistreatment of pregnant employees.  I’m very pleased to see this bill earn support from workers and employers alike.”

“This legislation is a major step forward for pay equity, public health and the economy of the Commonwealth.” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “I was proud to advocate for this bill, and I look forward to its passage.”

The ‘Pregnant Worker Fairness Act’ is the result of months long negotiations between industry representatives and pregnancy advocates. The committee’s final draft reflects the compromises of that process. The bill will ensure a safe and inclusive workforce for pregnant women across the Commonwealth.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for a vote from the membership.