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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Female Legislators Champion Strengthened Workplace Protections for Pregnant Women

House expected to vote this week on Labor Committee bill

State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson), State Representatives Liz Linehan (D-Cheshire) and Robyn Porter (D-New Haven) held a press conference today in support of legislation strengthening workplace protections for pregnant women.

H.B. 6668, An Act Concerning Pregnant Women In The Workplace, was introduced by Sen. Flexer, and Reps. Conley, Linehan, Luxenberg, McCarthy Vahey, Porter and Simmons. The bill is expected to be brought up in a House session this week.

The bill strengthens current protections for pregnant women under the state’s anti-discrimination law. Under the legislation, employers would be required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, such as being allowed to sit while working or taking more frequent breaks.

It would also prohibit limiting or segregating an employee in a way that would deny her employment opportunities due to her pregnancy and forcing a pregnant employee to accept an accommodation if she does not need one.

“It’s unfortunate that in 2017 women, who make up nearly 50 percent of the workforce in Connecticut, are still not treated equally in the workplace. We have seen time and again how pregnancy has led to discrimination which has a negative impact on women’s careers, including our pay and opportunities for advancement, and it is imperative that we strengthen protections for women to combat this type of unfair treatment that has serious socioeconomic ramifications,” said Sen. Flexer.

“No woman should face discrimination at work because she chooses to start a family, yet in 2017 the way we treat pregnancy continues to be a barrier to women’s advancement,” Rep. Linehan said. “It’s not just women who are affected by the loss of wages or missed opportunities—it’s their families, the children they support, and our economy. Workplace protections for pregnant women benefit employers by reducing turnover, increasing employee morale and productivity, and reducing workers’ compensation costs. A strong economy requires the full workforce participation of women, and we all lose when women are left behind or sidelined in the workplace because of a pregnancy.”

“No woman should ever have to choose between pursuing a career and having a family. That is why I stand in staunch support of H.B. 6668, which will strengthen the workplace rights for pregnant women and allow them to have the best of both worlds,” said Rep. Porter. 18 other states have enacted similar legislation with bipartisan support, including Vermont, which passed legislation Friday strengthening workplace protections for pregnant women.

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