Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Oct 18, 2017

What accommodations do pregnant employees get in Washington?

DisabilityLeave Laws 

Question: One of our new employees is pregnant and has started taking frequent breaks for drinks, snacks, and using the bathroom. She is also sitting down on the job a lot. Do we have to allow this?

Answer: Yes, if you have 15 or more employees. Washington’s new Healthy Starts Act, effective July 23, 2017, requires employers to provide pregnant employees with certain workplace accommodations, regardless of whether the employee is actually “disabled” and without regard to whether it would cause the employer an “undue hardship.” If requested, the employer must provide: more frequent, longer and/or flexible restroom breaks; modification to a policy banning food or drink in the workplace; added seating or more frequent sitting; and limited lifting over 17 pounds. In addition, employers are required to provide any other accommodation requested by a pregnant employee, unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so would impose an undue hardship. All of your pregnant employees are covered by this Act no matter how long they’ve worked for you or the number of hours they are regularly scheduled to work.

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