OLYMPIA – On International Women’s Day, a major new bill providing protections for pregnant women in the workplace passed the state Senate unanimously.
Sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, Senate Bill 5835 will give pregnant women in the workplace several new protections including increased restroom breaks, access to drinking water, food and seating as well as evidenced-based lifting limits and manual labor accommodations. A similar bill, ESHB 1796 passed the House last month.
“This legislation is a victory for the working women of Washington and a testament to the value of good faith bargaining and bipartisanship in the Legislature,” said Keiser. “This victory is an excellent advancement to better economic security and positive health outcomes for women and their newborn babies. This bill will improve the lives of the women of Washington state.”
In addition to providing new pregnancy protections, the bill would also establish the Healthy Pregnancy Advisory Committee tasked with developing strategies for improving maternal and infant health outcomes. The committee would be comprised of medical experts, representatives from low-income, immigrant and communities of color, with the auspices of the Department of Health.
“Every family deserves to bring their newborns into this world using proven best practices to promote health and happiness,” said Keiser. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to enact this legislation to the benefit of Washington moms and babies.”
SB 5835 passed on the final day for floor consideration of Senate bills and now moves to the House for further consideration.