New Jersey joins the growing number of jurisdictions requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. The law became effective on January 20, 2014.
An employer must provide such an accommodation to a pregnant employee who makes such a request for needs related to pregnancy, and upon the advice of her doctor, unless to do so would be an undue hardship. The law defines “pregnancy” to include pregnancy, childbirth, or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, including recovery from childbirth.
Examples of accommodations listed in the law include; bathroom breaks, breaks for increased water intake, periodic rest, assistance with manual labor, job restructuring or modified work schedules, and temporary transfers to less strenuous or hazardous work.
Factors considered in the “undue hardship” analysis include: the overall size of the employer’s business with respect to the number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget, type of operations, including the composition and structure of the employer’s workforce, the nature and cost of the accommodation needed, taking into consideration the availability of tax credits, tax deductions, and outside funding, and the extent to which the accommodation would involve waiver of an essential requirement of a job as opposed to a tangential or non-business necessity requirement.
Obviously concerned that this reasonable accommodation law would morph into yet another leave law, the law states specifically that it shall not be construed “as otherwise increasing or decreasing any employee’s rights under law to paid or unpaid leave in connection with pregnancy.”
Maryland and NYC are two of the more recent jurisdictions to enact laws requiring an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Click here for our post concerning the NYC law.