The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, legislation Speaker Robert DeLeo has identified as a priority, has won the approval of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, moving it closer to a floor vote.
In a poll that closed Thursday, the committee unanimously recommended the bill (H 1038 / S 1023) ought to pass. The bill received some "minor edits" from the committee, according to an aide.
State Sen. Joan Lovely, D-Salem, is the bill’s primary sponsor.
The legislation bars employers from denying pregnant women "reasonable" accommodations including "more frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks, time off to recover from childbirth with or without pay, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedules" as long as the accommodation "would not impose undue hardship on the employer."
A similar bill also won a favorable report from the committee last session. Though business groups had opposed that bill last session, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts announced in March it reached an agreement with the advocacy group MotherWoman on consensus legislation. Nearly 120 lawmakers, including a majority of the Senate, have signed onto the bill as co-sponsors.
The Legislature over the first months of 2017 has focused mostly on non-controversial local bills.