The Southwest Women’s Law Center (SWLC) supports policies that help New Mexican women and their families reach economic security and stability. The SWLC has been working with Rep. Gail Chasey and Sen. Liz Stefanics on the Pregnant Worker Accommodation bill since 2015. With its supporters, SWLC hopes that HB 25/a will become law in New Mexico in 2020.
Since the 2019 session, bipartisan support for HB25/a has grown to include business interest groups, most recently including the Association of Commerce and Industry, the NM Hospitality Association, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and Albuquerque Teachers Federation. They join a number of women’s rights and worker rights advocacy groups, who stand in support of this important legislative effort.
House Bill (HB) 25/a provides pregnant workers the opportunity to continue to work to support their growing families without risking the health of a pregnancy or the loss of a job.
HB 25/a is scheduled to be heard next by the Senate Judiciary Committee. SWLC is requesting that supporters of the bill call or e-mail the SJC members and ask them to hear the bill as soon as possible; and to support the bill. (See below for SJC members and contact information). During the 2019 Legislative Session, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted for a similar version of the bill, HB 196, by a vote of 6-0.
HB 25 has been receiving widespread support from Democrats and Republicans. On February 13th, HB 25/a passed the New Mexico Senate’s Public Affairs Committee unanimously with a vote of 6-0. HB 25/a also passed the House of Representatives unanimously by a vote of 65-0. During the House Judiciary Committee, HB 25 was amended, which allowed for the support of the Association of Commerce and Industry, the Hispano Chamber of Commerce and the NM Hospitality Association.
What does HB 25/a do?
- Employers with four or more employees are required to grant a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a need arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related condition, as long as it does not create an undue hardship for the employer.
- A reasonable accommodation is a change to the employee’s work environment, work rules or job responsibilities to accommodate a pregnant worker with a need arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
- PWA extends the protections of the Human Rights Act to pregnant workers who need an accommodation arising from pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition. These protections include prohibiting discrimination in hiring, discharge, promotion, demotion, compensation, leave, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
- Some examples of a reasonable accommodation include allowing an employee to keep water at their workstation, extra bathroom breaks, reprieve from heavy lifting, light duty, or time off to attend prenatal appointments.
SWLC requests supporters to help pass HB 25/a. The 2020 NM Legislative Session ends at noon on Thursday, February 20. If HB 25/a passes at the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill will go to the Senate Floor.
To support SWLC’s efforts on HB 25/a, please donate at swwomenslaw.org.
Terrelene Massey, Executive Director