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Pregnancy Accommodations Now Available To State Workers, Law Falls Short For Private

A poster advocating for better policies for women from a Hoosier Action statehouse rally during the 2021 legislative session.

A poster advocating for better policies for women from a Hoosier Action statehouse rally during the 2021 legislative session. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Tuesday giving pregnant employees in state agencies the right to reasonable workplace accommodations. But he also signed a bill into law that tells private employers they don’t have to grant accommodations when their employees ask.

The executive order tells state agencies they must provide pregnant workers with temporary accommodations like longer break times, the ability to sit or stand for comfort, and a private space for expressing breast milk.

In a statement, Holcomb said the measure was “not only important but fair” and would help the state attract and retain skilled workers in state agency jobs. 

Meanwhile, for private employees the rules will be quite different. The new law tells private employers they must respond to requests for accommodations in a “reasonable time frame,” but don’t have to provide them.

In a statement, Holcomb said that while he pushed for different language – more closely aligned with his executive order – he agreed with some lawmakers that this was a “step forward” for pregnant workers. He says he’ll continue to look for ways to make progress on the issue in the future.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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