by Jonathan Bissonnette
Central Falls- Gov. Gina Raimondo on Thursday hosted a ceremony to commemorate the passage of legislation requiring that pregnancy and related conditions be reasonably accommodated.
The ill, which was formally signed at Packaging and More on Higginson Avenue, requires employers to consider the needs of women with medical issues related to pregnancy.
“As a working mother, it gave me great pleasure to sign today’s bill which supports pregnant and nursing women in the workplace,” Raimondo said in a statement issued Thursday “For many families, having two incomes is critical. This legislation should provide peace of mind to women, showing they are valuable members of the work force and that having a baby isn’t a reason to lose a job.”
The legislation was cosponsored by District 56 State Rep. Shelby Maldonado and District 27 Sen. Hanna M. Gallo.
Maldonado said Thursday that while she was a member of the Central Falls City Council, a similar ordinance was introduced last year. She said that being at the state level, she knew it was an important subject and she wanted to ensure that it was a state law so that municipalities had the opportunity to protect women in the work place.
She said the bill enforced stronger language to protect women in the workplace, whether it is reasonable accommodations such as a chair to sit on if their feet hurt or language that allows for bathroom break or water breaks if needed.
The legislation is coming from “wanting to protect women so they’re able to continue working in a job and helping their families and moving the economy forward,” Maldonado said. “That’s most of what Rhode Island is looking to do, build our economy.”
Maldonado additionally said it “meant a lot” to have the bill signed in Central Falls, not only for herself but for the city as well.
“It showed our hard work has paid off,” she said.
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said: “ This is an important piece of legislation that will help companies in Central Falls and Rhode island retain talent and improve quality of life. We were honored to have the Governor visit our city and highlight this important issue.”
This article was originally printed in The Pawtucket Times on 7/17/2015