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Baker Signs Pregnant Worker Protection Bill

BOSTON (CBS) — Congratulating lawmakers for their work on the legislation, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill guaranteeing protections for pregnant workers.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has guarantees "reasonable accommodations" to pregnant employees in the workplace.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the bill was "overdue."

"Many people might call this long overdue in common sense reforms. But I think for all of us today, we'll just leave it as a job well done," Governor Baker said.

State Senator Joan Lovely told a story about a woman named Alejandra who lost her baby because of "strenuous working conditions."

"Alejandra should not have had to choose between having a healthy pregnancy and earning an income for her family," Lovely said. "It is for women like Alejandra that we filed the 'Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and I am so overjoyed today that the bill will become law."

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says the law protects pregnant workers from discrimination.

"This law provides essential protections and guarantees safety measures. Pregnant women will now no longer be subject to discrimination when it comes to common sense accommodations," DeLeo said.

Because of the bill, it will be illegal to fire a woman because she's pregnant or refuse to hire female job applicants because they're pregnant.

Reasonable accommodations will include anything from assigning pregnant workers to less strenuous positions, providing a worker with a stool to sit on, or more frequent bathroom breaks.

Lawmakers approved the bill last week and the law will take effect on April 1, 2018.

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