OLYMPIA – The Washington State Senate today took a step forward on workplace equity for women by passing the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act (SB 6149). The bill requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees including more frequent, longer or flexible restroom, food and water breaks; seating; limits on lifting over twenty pounds; and flexibility for pre-natal medical appointments.
Following passage, sponsor of the bill Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, released the following statement:
“Today marked a little bit of history in the long fight for women’s equity in the workplace. Although there is still much work to be done, this bill will help ensure the needs of women, especially those in non-traditional workplaces, are met.
“Our economy and culture have changed and gone are the days of a gender segregated workforce in offices and warehouses. It is our job to ensure that every sector of the economy will accommodate pregnant workers.
“I am thrilled that the state Senate unanimously voted to support my legislation to grant pregnant workers reasonable accommodations in the workplace. It was my intention to win bipartisan support for this common sense legislation, and I worked with all parties to accomplish today’s vote.
“Although not perfect, SB 6149 is a big improvement for the workplace rights of pregnant women and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to see this legislation to the Governor’s desk for his signature.”