Kentucky Expands Protections for Pregnant Workers
On April 9, 2019, Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act (KYPWA), which expands protections for pregnant employees under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, KRS 344.010, et seq.
Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy
Effective June 27, 2019, employers with 15 or more employees in Kentucky in at least 20 calendar weeks in the current or preceding year will be required to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Under the KYPWA, reasonable accommodations may include:
- More frequent/longer breaks;
- Time off to recover from childbirth;
- Acquisition/modification of equipment;
- Appropriate seating;
- Temporary transfer to a less strenuous/hazardous position;
- Job restructuring;
- Light duty;
- Modified work schedule; and
- Private space (other than a bathroom) to express breast milk.
Additionally, the KYPWA provides that employers and employees engage in a timely, good faith, and interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations, and employees will not be required to take leave if a reasonable accommodation can be provided.
Undue Hardship Exception
The KYPWA provides an exception for accommodations that would place an undue hardship on employers. Factors to be considered in determining the existence of an undue hardship include:
- The number of workers employed by the employer;
- The employer’s size/financial resources;
- The nature of the employer’s business/operations;
- The nature and cost of the accommodation needed;
- The duration of the requested accommodation; and
- Whether similar accommodations are required by policy to be made, or have been made, or are being made for other employees for any reason.
Also effective on June 27, 2019, employers in Kentucky must provide written notice prohibiting discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, including the right to a reasonable accommodation, to all new employees. All existing employees must receive written notice no later than July 27, 2019. Additionally, employers must conspicuously post notice of the KYPWA at their place of business in an area accessible to employees.
Next Steps for Employers
Kentucky employers should update their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the KYPWA before the effective date.