The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 27, 2020 2:20 pm

Indiana lawmakers consider protections for pregnant workers

TOM DAVIES | Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – More businesses would have to allow pregnant women longer breaks, transfers to less physical work and unpaid time off after childbirth under a proposal being considered by Indiana lawmakers.

A state Senate committee voted 7-2 Monday to endorse the bill even though some business groups argued it wasn’t necessary and could lead to greater burdens on smaller businesses.

The proposal would apply to businesses with more than 15 employees and would require them to provide workplace accommodations to pregnant women that don’t cause an “undue hardship” on the company.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb is supporting the bill, with his state health commissioner telling the committee that such job modifications can help limit the number of premature births as officials work to improve Indiana’s ranking as the country’s 7th worst infant mortality rate. Similar laws are in effect in 27 other states.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Ron Alting of Lafayette said while larger companies typically already make pregnancy accommodations the proposal would clear up confusion for smaller businesses on their requirements.

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

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