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Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Now In Effect!

Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Now in Effect!

As of April 1, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) is in effect, meaning that pregnant workers across the state will no longer have to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy.

The PWFA, which was passed by the State Legislature and signed by Governor Baker last year, makes it illegal for most Massachusetts employers to deny workers reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or conditions related to pregnancy, including lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child, unless it would be really difficult or expensive for them to do so.

Under the law, reasonable accommodations can include frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks; time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth with or without pay; acquisition or modification of equipment or seating; temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position; job restructuring; light duty; private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk; assistance with manual labor; or a modified work schedule.

For more information about the law, see our fact sheet and the guidance issued by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination here and here.

The PWFA is a crucial, and hard fought, step forward for Massachusetts workers. A Better Balance worked actively on the bill since 2014, assisting in drafting the legislation, conducting legal research, submitting testimony, negotiating with the business community, and more, working closely with local advocates and lawmakers every step of the way.

With the PWFA, Massachusetts joins a growing list of cities and states that make it illegal for employers to deny reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. We are eager to continue building on this momentum.

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