Compliance for HR

Kentucky Employers: Are You in Compliance with the New Pregnancy Law?

Kentucky employees who are new moms or expectant mothers are getting their bill of rights for specific accommodations under a new pregnancy law signed into effect in April 2019. Kentucky employers will be required to evaluate their current human resources policies and how they affect pregnant employers or new parents, before making sure they’re in compliance under The Pregnancy Workers Act. The new law will go into effect on June 27, 2019. We’ll run through what you need to know about the accommodations and how to ensure you are in compliance by the effective date.

Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations For Pregnant Workers

For decades, many women have faced gender discrimination in the workplace. As an attempt to eliminate pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, employers prohibit discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, promotion, and other employee benefits. Thus, most larger businesses are already prohibited by law from discriminating against pregnant employees, childbirth, and medical related conditions.

The new law will significantly impact small businesses. The Pregnancy Workers Act amends the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are limited due to pregnancy, childbirth, or any related medical condition. Unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer to provide such accommodations, employers who fail to make these adjustments for pregnant employees will be held liable.

The Act expands on the definition of “reasonable” accommodations for pregnant employees and mothers returning from pregnancy leave, which includes a number of specific examples of accommodations that should be provided:

  • more frequent or longer breaks;
  • time off to recover from childbirth;
  • acquisition or modification of equipment;
  • appropriate seating;
  • temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position;
  • job restructuring;
  • light duty;
  • modified work schedule; and
  • private space that is not a bathroom for expressing breast milk.

The Pregnancy Workers Act also states that the employee shouldn’t be required to take leave from work if another accommodation can be made.

What Should Kentucky Employers Do to Ensure Pregnancy Law Compliance?   

The employee and employer should enlist in a process to determine the best accommodations to fit the employees’ needs. The new law requires that the employer and employee “engage in a timely, good faith, and interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations.” In addition, employers must post a notice of the new law when it goes into effect on June 27, in addition to providing written notice to current and new employees.

Failure to be compliant can cost you the bottom line, especially without an experienced HR team on staff. Avoid such a headache by getting in contact with an HR consultant on our dedicated team of HR professionals. We’ll work with you to ensure you thoroughly understand the law, update handbook policies and most importantly, ensure you’re in compliance. The best time to have an HR team on your side is when a new change happens, especially when it comes to the law and the potential effect it can have on your employees and even worse, the bottom line.

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