Illinois Employers beware of new law protecting Pregnant Employees
If you are an Illinois employer and haven’t yet taken action on the new pregnancy protection amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act, it’s time to get moving. The new amendment (HB0008), which went into effect January 1, 2015, provides additional protections against discrimination for pregnant women in the workplace.
Acknowledging that existing legislation had been inadequate, the new law prevents companies from firing or forcing expectant mothers to take unpaid leave. The new law recognizes the obvious – that many women are now primary breadwinners for their families, a situation which can cause undue hardship if a worker loses her job due to pregnancy. In addition to advancing the objective of gender equality, the new law also states that enabling pregnant women to work through pregnancy is good for business in terms of worker productivity, retention and morale, while reducing re-training and health care costs. While most people understand that more equality is a moral imperative, it’s easy to forget that social progress is also sound business policy.