Holcomb pushing bill for workplace protections for pregnant women

("Indiana Statehouse" by Shawna Pierson, CC BY 2.0)

Pregnant women would gain workplace protections under a bill being pushed by Governor Holcomb.

Federal law already requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers. Holcomb wants state legislators to make that more specific. Bills authored by Lafayette Senator Ron Alting and Georgetown Representative Karen Engleman offer a dozen examples.

State health commissioner Kristina Box says special treatment for mothers-to-be would help continue Indiana’s recent progress toward reducing a chronically high infant mortality rate. She says premature births are the most common factor in those deaths, and says accommodations like giving women a chance to get off their feet, or move around instead of standing in one place, would lead to healthier pregnancies without creating undue burdens on employers.

Box argues offering those accommodations would actually help employers by allowing women to come back to work faster after maternity leave.

Although the bill is among Governor Holcomb’s priorities, it hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing yet. Legislators have a week after they return from the Martin Luther King holiday weekend to put it on the calendar.