Increasing workplace protections for pregnant women (VIDEO)

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For many expecting mothers, working outside of the home during a pregnancy is not a choice. A recent U.S. Census study revealed more than 60 percent of women having their first child worked outside of the home during their pregnancy. In comparison, only 40 percent of women worked during pregnancy in the 1960s.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) passed a proposal out of the Senate this week that would ensure women who work outside of the home during their pregnancy are able to receive the work accommodations they need from their employers.

“As more women are likely to be their family's primary breadwinner, it has become evident that continuing to work through pregnancy and returning to work is particularly important for women and their families,” Hutchinson said. “The intent of this legislation is to make unmistakably clear that employers have to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, just like they do for workers who need accommodations because of a disability.”

The proposal requires employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant women in the workplace as long as it would not put undue pressure on their businesses.

“If we as a community value the strength of the family, then this is one of the best pro-families policies to support,” Hutchinson said.

House Bill 8 passed the Senate this week on a 57-0 vote and now heads to the House for a vote on a Senate amendment.