A Burnsville representative has thrown her support behind a bill that require businesses to allow maternity leave and workplace accommodations for the physical needs of pregnant women.
Rep. Sandra Masin was one of 16 house legislators to author the bill, H.F. 463, all of whom hail from the DFL party. Six of the co-authors were male. The legislation was introduced on Monday by the chief author, Minneapolis Rep. Phyllis Kahn.
The bill requires employers to grant a minimum amount of maternity leave to all women for a "reasonable period of time," with a maximum of up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave of absence for female employees disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Additionally, the employee would be entitled to use of any accrued vacation or sick leave during this period of time.
If passed, the bill would also oblige employers to provide reasonable accommodation for employees laboring under conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth, as per the woman's request or the advice of her doctor. The legislators describe "reasonable accommodation" as seating, frequent restroom breaks, and limits to heavy lifting, among other things. If possible, the employer must transfer a pregnant woman to light duty, though no employer would be required to create a job that didn't previously exist. The bill further states that employers will not be required to displace or discharge other employees to accommodate a pregnant worker.