This isYour Victory

Passing the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act

Shattering Barriers

In a state that historically passes less than ten percent of introduced legislation, the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act (SCPAA) was swiftly signed into law after being introduced for the first time in the 2017-2018 legislative session.

As one of WREN’s top legislative priorities, the SCPAA shattered barriers as the first state-level bill in the south to offer crucial protections* to pregnant employees. It additionally received overwhelming, bipartisan support from partners across our state and the political spectrum.

The Issue

In South Carolina, pregnant employees were too often faced with the risk of losing their jobs or compromising their own health and the health of their baby.

When pregnant employees are denied vital and low-cost accommodations in the workforce (e.g. stool at cashier’s station or access to a water bottle), birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preeclampsia, or miscarriage increase in likelihood.

In addition, proper accommodations allow a woman to continue breastfeeding when she returns to work. Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses and leads to better health outcomes. Lack of reasonable workplace accommodations also has the potential to force pregnant employees to take early unpaid leave.

The Action

The SCPPA was introduced by state Representative Beth Bernstein in order to address the health and well-being of pregnant employees in the workforce. Throughout this bill’s time in the General Assembly, Representative Bernstein fought diligently to champion vast, bipartisan support.

In understanding the necessity of the SCPPA, WREN brought in diverse partners, including the March of Dimes and Palmetto Family Council to testify in support.

When we sent out alerts and posted videos to explain the content and urgency of the legislation, the community showed up in droves to lobby, fill the room for subcommittee/full committee, testify, call, and email legislators.

The Result

As of May 18, 2018, if you are working while pregnant, recovering from childbirth, or need to express milk at work, you don’t have to risk your health to stay at your job.

South Carolina law now gives you an explicit right to reasonable pregnancy accommodations so you can stay healthy and keep earning a paycheck when you need it most.

On the day it was signed into law, partners and constituents came together again to celebrate. We had won a battle that would not only help us today, but that would shape the health of pregnancies for generations to come.

What's Next

As this legislation is implemented, we’ll be working hard on our end to ensure proper compliance.

From the Community