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Illinois Senate Passes Bill That Would Protect Pregnant Workers

No Woman Should Have to Choose Between a Healthy Pregnancy and Her Job

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Nicolet
312.368.2675

Reasonable accommodations, such as a stool to sit on, permission to carry a bottle of water, or a break from lifting heavy boxes, are too often denied pregnant working women in Illinois. With yesterday’s passage of HB 8, the Illinois Senate took an important step to promote workplace fairness for pregnant women and ensure that they can remain productive employees while maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

The bill clarifies current law to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, unless such accommodations would cause an undue hardship to the employer. HB 8, which amends Illinois’s Human Rights Act, will ensure that pregnant workers are treated the same as other workers who need temporary job modifications because of a disability.

“This legislation is especially important for low-income workers, who typically have the most physically demanding jobs and are least likely to have access to maternity leave and sick time,” said Wendy Pollack, Director of the Women’s Law and Policy Project at the Shriver Center. “These women can’t afford to lose their jobs—along with their income, seniority, and often their employer-provided health insurance—due to the denial of a reasonable accommodation.”                                                                                                               

Providing pregnant employees with reasonable, temporary accommodations increases worker productivity, retention, and morale, and reduces health care costs associated with pregnancy complications. “HB 8 will enable women to remain productive members of the workforce and provide for their families,” said John Bouman, President of the Shriver Center. “We encourage the House to concur and to send this bill to Governor Quinn.” 

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. Through policy development, advocacy, litigation, consulting, training, and communications, we are building the national capacity of people living in poverty by representing them directly and by supporting and enhancing the capacity of other public interest lawyers who serve them. For more information, visit http://povertylaw.org



The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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