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Reps. Kelly and Upchurch announce bill to provide support for pregnant employees

July 14, 2022
Terrence Upchurch News

COLUMBUS – State Reps. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) today announced they have introduced legislation to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees. The bill would make it unlawful for employers to fail or refuse to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and clarifies the law for employers. The bill encourages conversations between a pregnant worker and their employer about best next steps to ensure their safety and the health of their pregnancy. 30 other states, including Kentucky, have already moved to set clearer expectations around pregnancy accommodations. 

“No pregnant individual should have to choose between their health and wellbeing and their employment,” said Rep. Kelly. “Regardless of their background and situation, all Ohioans should have the opportunity, resources, and legal protections necessary to raise happy, healthy families.”

Organizations working on this issue such as A Better Balance say this legislation will not only uplift pregnant workers, but will also boost the economy and support businesses by providing much needed clarification to employers and thus avoiding potentially costly litigation. Supporters say this legislation will also help businesses by increasing worker retention rates and decreasing healthcare costs, and that these are among the reasons why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups have already supported these kinds of efforts across the country. 

“In the midst of extreme tension after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, it is our duty as elected officials to protect and support women. If a woman chooses to have a child, they should absolutely be provided additional protections and reasonable accommodations while at the workplace. We cannot continue to fail women,” said Rep. Upchurch.

The bill is a part of ongoing efforts by Ohio Democrats to invest in children and families and now awaits a bill number and House committee assignment.