Expecting mothers in South Carolina now have a law that protects them from workplace discrimination

Published: Jun. 6, 2018 at 2:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2018 at 8:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Expectant moms in South Carolina are expected to have special working conditions on the job, under a new state law.

It's called the 'SC Pregnancy Accommodations Act', aimed at eliminating discrimination in the workplace against pregnant woman and new moms.

Doctors are supporting the law, and hope it will make things like breastfeeding more comfortable in the work environment.

"There's still a lot of stigma associated with breastfeeding and a lot of workplaces don't have accommodations for moms, and a lot of moms nowadays are working," OB/GYN Dr. Sherri Taylor, MD FACOG, said.

The law requires the bosses of expectant mothers and new moms to allow more and longer work breaks for breastfeeding and to provide a space for it, and the ability to sit on a job where standing is common to keep employees from heavy lifting, and more.

"A lot of times we give them recommendations and quite honestly, the patient is stuck between a rock and a hard place because they can't necessarily follow them because their employer doesn't have any incentive to," Dr. Taylor continued.

"It's good to have safeguards like this in place so- that take into account that women can get pregnant and that if they do get pregnant, that they can continue to work," Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) Communications Director Eme Crawford said.

The law also prevents employers from things like refusing to hire pregnant women, denying them opportunities on the job, and to punish them for needing certain accommodations while pregnant.

Mothers are speaking in support of the law, too, saying, "I think this act is advantageous to employers and employees alike."

"I've seen far too many women struggle with finding adequate time to schedule required prenatal appointments and be forced to take early Family Medical Leave Act due to the temporary limitations of pregnancy," Samantha Bouknight said. "This puts stress on parents financially, emotionally, and physically, and also puts added work onto those trying to find replacement employees or shuffle around shift changes. Myriad studies have reported better workplace environments and better-quality output when soon-to-be and new parents' circumstances are respected. I truly hope to see those positive outcomes throughout South Carolina and the companies who embrace this act to flourish exponentially," she said.

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