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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect April 1

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), the newest employment law in Massachusetts, takes effect on April 1 for employers with six or more employees. Here are several key points to make sure employers are aware of what they must do to comply.
 
The PWFA is enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD). The MCAD website includes a compliance guidance and an FAQ document. Much of the information in this article is drawn from the statute, Chapter 54 of 2017, and the MCAD guidance. 
 
The purpose of the PWFA is to prohibit employment discrimination based on pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, such as lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child. The law also makes it clear that an accommodation to express milk may not include the women’s restroom. It must be another private space although the employer does not need to have the room permanently available - only when its required by the employee. 
 
The PWFA also describes employers’ obligations to employees who are pregnant or lactating. Employers may not treat employees or job applicants less favorably than other employees based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, and have an obligation to accommodate pregnant workers. 
 
According to the MCAD Guidance, following an employee’s request for an accommodation, a covered employer: 

 

AIM has invited MCAD staff members to attend the monthly Human Resource Roundtables in either March or April to discuss the new law in more detail. Details will be provided.
 
AIM HR Solutions is currently developing a model PWFA policy and supporting documentation that will be available to members who subscribe to the AIM Model Handbook Subscription Service. For more information about how to participate in the subscription service, please contact Nicole Barrett at nbarrett@aimhrsolutions.com

Attend one of our two webinars on this topic (Free for AIM Members and $40 for non-members) 

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