A bill to help pregnant workers and new moms has hit a speed bump in the House.
It’s the second straight year Governor Holcomb has asked legislators to require employers to accommodate pregnant women. Last year, the Senate gutted the bill. This year, there are two versions of the bill in the House, and a committee chose to hear and pass the weaker one. Instead of requiring employers to grant requests like lighter duty or lactation breaks, it requires only that they respond to them — it specifies they don’t have to agree to them.
The bill does ban employers from retaliating against women who ask for accommodations.
Indianapolis Urban League advocacy director Mark A. Russell calls the bill well-intentioned, but not enough. He says women shouldn’t have to choose between their health and their job. Hoosier Action executive director Kate Pace notes while Indiana’s infant mortality rate is the best in state history, it’s the 11th-worst in the U-S.
Pace says 30 states already require pregnancy accommodations, and says most Indiana small businesses provide them already. But she says it needs to be in state law to standardize those protections.
The full House could vote on the bill next week.ill