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Local Councilman Pushes To Give More Protection To Pregnant Workers

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--A city councilman wants Philadelphia to follow New York City's lead in giving new protections to pregnant workers.

City Councilman Bill Greenlee has introduced a bill that mirrors a just-approved New York City law mandating that employers make special accommodations for pregnant workers.

"The kind of things we're thinking about are extra breaks during the day, being allowed to sit a little bit more, things that the vast majority of employers are already doing. But we hear stories in some isolated cases in which pregnant workers are not being properly accommodated. So we thought it would be a good idea to have this in place in the (city's) Fair Practices Ordinance."

Greenlee is also the author of two failed attempts to secure earned mandatory sick leave for Philadelphia workers, measures were vetoed by the mayor, who voiced concerns about the cost of such sick leave to local businesses.

Greenlee does not expect the measure to protect pregnant workers would face similar opposition.

"I don't see this as being costly at all, unlike sick leave, where obviously there was a financial aspect to it. I don't see where there's much financial aspect to this. In fact I think in the vast majority of times, there wouldn't be any. Moving a stool over so a cashier could sit instead of stand doesn't sound like an economic impact."

The proposed measure calls for guarantees of restroom breaks, rest breaks for those who must stand, and assistance with manual labor. It will be debated in committee.

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