Indiana Senate approves bill for optional pregnant worker accommodations

The proposal allows a pregnant employee to request accommodations and requires the employer to respond in a reasonable time frame, but it does not mandate managers to grant any of the requests.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 3:15 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana legislators gave final approval to a bill that won’t require businesses to make accommodations for pregnant workers, despite an appeal from Gov. Eric Holcomb for a law requiring more protections.

The proposal allows a pregnant employee to request accommodations and requires the employer to respond in a reasonable time frame, but it does not mandate managers to grant any of the requests.

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Such steps, such as longer breaks or transfers to less physical work, are cast by supporters as ways of improving Indiana’s infant mortality rate, which federal statistics show was the country’s 14th worst in 2018 with 525 infant deaths.

But Republicans who dominate the Legislature have sided with major business groups rather than the GOP governor on the issue. Lawmakers also rejected a separate Holcomb-backed bill last year that would have ensured similar accommodations.

“If we truly set forth to provide support and accommodations to pregnant workers to help ensure that they can get the help they need at work to stay healthy and safe through a pregnancy, then this is not the bill,” said Democratic Sen. Shelli Yoder, of Bloomington. “What this ends up doing is it gives legislators an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back to say we did something, we passed this, when really it’s more of a slap in the face of pregnant workers.”

The latest measure passed the House in February by a 95-2 votes as even lawmakers wanting tougher regulations supported it as a way of getting some protections for women into state law.

Senators voted 31-19 on the bill Tuesday, sending the measure Holcomb.

Federal laws already require larger companies to provide pregnancy accommodations, but top Holcomb administration health officials have advocated for the state accommodations requirement as a way of helping pregnant women who don’t face clear rules in the workplace.

The governor said after the House advanced the weaker bill in February that his goal was “not going to come to fruition, that’s been a message received” from lawmakers.

Holcomb said he would issue an executive order ensuring such accommodations for state employees to demonstrate to business owners how such accommodations can work. He has yet to issue such an order.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray said many lawmakers were hesitant to put more regulations on businesses, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some major business groups, including the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Manufacturers Association, additionally raised worries about possibly exposing more businesses to lawsuits by requiring them to provide accommodations.

“I feel that many women will come forward because of this bill. And the good companies will accommodate them. And the bad eggs — they won’t,” said bill author Republican Sen. Ron Alting, of Lafayette. “When you’ve been around this chamber a while, you’ll learn once in a while you better take what you can get. For many of us this bill is not far enough ... but it’s a step in the right direction.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 704632

Reported Deaths: 13211
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion961411718
Lake51322943
Allen39040670
Hamilton34368405
St. Joseph33865539
Elkhart27197431
Vanderburgh22050394
Tippecanoe21725212
Johnson17475374
Porter17240298
Hendricks16754310
Clark12663190
Madison12321337
Vigo12172244
Monroe11417166
LaPorte10841204
Delaware10325184
Howard9629211
Kosciusko9098113
Hancock7954139
Bartholomew7867155
Warrick7680155
Floyd7543176
Wayne6887198
Grant6773171
Boone6524100
Morgan6379138
Dubois6074117
Marshall5770108
Dearborn568576
Cass5678102
Henry5569100
Noble539383
Jackson492869
Shelby478295
Lawrence4336118
Gibson427789
Harrison427570
Clinton417753
Montgomery417286
DeKalb407984
Huntington377480
Whitley376339
Miami371765
Knox365789
Steuben363357
Putnam352360
Jasper347546
Wabash347377
Adams337852
Ripley333468
Jefferson312180
White307854
Daviess289399
Wells285581
Decatur278592
Fayette277162
Greene270485
Posey268433
Scott260853
Clay253044
LaGrange252170
Randolph234680
Washington230631
Spencer227531
Jennings224747
Fountain208245
Sullivan207542
Starke202652
Owen191956
Fulton190939
Jay185829
Carroll185620
Perry179736
Orange176753
Rush170624
Vermillion165943
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144316
Blackford133331
Pike130234
Pulaski113245
Newton103034
Brown99740
Crawford97514
Benton96413
Martin82515
Warren79315
Switzerland7698
Union69710
Ohio55711
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1050112

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1219281356
Cuyahoga1067232069
Hamilton780741168
Montgomery49976996
Summit45252909
Lucas39984765
Butler37678570
Stark31385895
Lorain24111473
Warren23864293
Mahoning20869583
Lake19963362
Clermont19423229
Delaware18002130
Licking16109207
Fairfield15676197
Trumbull15553460
Medina14839259
Greene14643236
Clark13602293
Wood12733185
Portage12353196
Allen11312229
Richland11025198
Miami10525214
Muskingum8702127
Wayne8556209
Columbiana8535226
Pickaway8429121
Tuscarawas8370240
Marion8365135
Erie7554154
Hancock6694123
Ross6693146
Geauga6532146
Ashtabula6470165
Scioto6286101
Belmont5610158
Union557447
Lawrence5465102
Jefferson5303147
Huron5298114
Darke5268121
Sandusky5171120
Seneca5108120
Washington5073107
Athens500656
Auglaize475184
Mercer471184
Shelby455890
Knox4380108
Madison421559
Putnam420799
Ashland412688
Fulton409167
Defiance400896
Crawford3866101
Brown386055
Logan372876
Preble369898
Clinton360560
Ottawa356578
Highland346359
Williams324974
Champaign319257
Jackson307951
Guernsey306149
Perry289649
Fayette277348
Morrow274639
Hardin264164
Henry263566
Coshocton258857
Holmes253099
Van Wert238862
Gallia233346
Pike232931
Adams227852
Wyandot226953
Hocking208959
Carroll189147
Paulding168638
Meigs141538
Noble132837
Monroe128841
Morgan106623
Harrison105236
Vinton81414
Unassigned02
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