Indiana Legislators Push New Bill to Protect Pregnant Employees

Compared with the rest of the country, Indiana is struggling and falling behind when it comes to both infant and maternal mortality rates.

According to the CDC, Indiana is the 7th worst state for infant mortality, with approximately seven deaths for every 1,000 babies delivered in 2019.

In addition, Indiana is ranked 3rd in the country for maternal mortality rates (meaning a woman dies while pregnant or up to one year after giving birth). In 2018, there were about 41 deaths for every 100,000 women who were either pregnant or had recently given birth. The only other states with higher maternal mortality rates are Louisiana and Georgia.

These statistics have not escaped certain Indiana lawmakers’ attention, and some are determined to find ways to lower these numbers across the state.

One way lawmakers hope to reduce the number of infant and maternal deaths is by passing a bill in the State House that would address how employers treat their employees, both while pregnant and post-partum.

Here is how the bill is described:

The bill prohibits an employer from discriminating against a pregnant employee. It requires an employer to provide reasonable employment accommodations for a pregnant employee. It also requires the Civil Rights Commission to investigate complaints and attempt to resolve complaints. … The provisions of this bill apply to employers with 15 or more employees.

The bill would also enforce federal laws, which state that…

… an employee who is unable to perform her job due to conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth must be treated the same as any other temporarily disabled employee, including receiving modified tasks, light duty, and leave.

While these protections from the federal law are supposed to be enforced nationwide, 27 other states around the country have already passed laws similar to the one Indiana is considering. State Senator Ron Alting from Lafayette told CBS 4 Indy that this new bill would ” clear up confusion for smaller businesses on their requirements.”

The new bill also has support from Indiana Governor Holcomb. It passed through a special state Senate committee on Monday, meaning the bill will now head to the full State Senate floor for a vote.

Image from VeryWellFamily.com

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