Effective April 1, 2018, Massachusetts employers with six or more employees will need to comply with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which extends reasonable accommodation entitlement to employees who are not disabled or handicapped, but instead have normal, healthy pregnancies or conditions related to pregnancy. We previously reviewed the signing of the bill in an e-Alert on October 11, 2017.

What employers need to know

  • Pregnancy and related conditions become a protected category in their own right and will no longer depend on being part of a disability or handicap come April 2018.
  • The new regulations specifically say that reasonable accommodation for pregnancy or related conditions may include “more frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks,” “time off to recover from childbirth with or without pay,” and “modified work schedules.”
  • Employers’ leave obligations become more complicated as there will be five sets of Massachusetts laws affecting employee leave created or changed in the last three years.

Next steps for employers

Employers shouldn’t wait until the act takes effect to prepare to ensure compliance. They need to make sure that their policies and handbooks are updated and that they are educating themselves and their managers on the requirements of this act. HR Knowledge has created a Massachusetts and Federal Leave Guide to help our clients navigate the complexities of leave entitlements in Massachusetts. Please feel free to contact us with questions.

This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.