In FMLA Updates, Pregnancy

Effective immediately, employers in Rhode Island that have more than four employees must provide female employees with pregnancy accommodations. Employers are obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation for any condition related to pregnancy and childbirth, as well as providing female employees with time off after childbirth to recover.

The new law also makes it unlawful for an employer to require that an employee take leave due to conditions related to pregnancy if another accommodation can be provided. Lactation, or the need to express breast milk for nursing is now covered as a “related medical condition”.

The law provides a list of 10 possible accommodations, and clarifies that this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Provide more frequent or longer breaks
  • Time off to recover from childbirth
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment
  • Seating
  • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
  • Job restructuring
  • Light duty
  • Break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing milk
  • Assistance with manual labor
  • A modified work schedule

There is no duration for the amount of leave that is provided. Leave may be taken continuously, intermittently, or on a reduced schedule. An employer is not required to provide this accommodation if it can provide evidence that doing so would cause an undue hardship.

This new law requires employers to post and provide notice of the laws protections:

  • To all new employees upon the commencement of their employment
  • To all current employees on or before October 23, 2015
  • Within 10 days of any employee notifying her employer of her pregnancy
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