Lawmaker pushes for more protections for pregnant women in Alabama’s workforce

Politics

MONTGOMERY, Ala (WIAT) — Could more protections be coming to pregnant workers in Alabama? That’s the goal for one state lawmaker.

State Representative Neil Raftery (D-Birmingham) has pre-filed a bill he’s calling the Alabama Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act.

“Several women who’ve reached out and say they’re just afraid to go and ask for these reasonable, low or no cost accommodations to make sure they do have a healthy pregnancy,” Rafferty said.

Among other things, Rafferty’s bill would allow for longer and more frequent breaks for pregnant women, allow for a temporary transfer to less hazardous work, assistance with manual labor, and time off to recover from childbirth.

“The American With Disabilities Act only protect women after there is a problem, after they have already developed a disability. We need to look at this through a prevention lens,” Rafferty said.

Rafferty also knows he may get some push back from his more conservative pro-business colleagues in the state house.  But he believes there is common ground to be found.

“It actually can protect the business by providing them with the guidance they need to sit down with their HR departments, employer and the employee to work out a deal that can accomplish that,” Rafferty said.

Lawmakers will take up the legislation when the 2022 regular legislative session starts Jan. 11.

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