March 8, 2016

On Feb. 18, 2016, the District of Columbia (D.C.) Council enacted D.C. Act 21-314. The new law temporarily amends the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014 to require an employer to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee whose ability to perform the functions of their job is affected by a pre-birth complication. The new law prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees who are absent from work as a result of pre-birth complications. The new law is effective Feb. 18, 2016, until May 18, 2016. The council is considering legislation to make the amendments permanent. While the law does not specifically address benefits, D.C. employers that have pregnant employees affected by a pre-birth complication should consider state and federal regulations that may require the employer to continue health coverage during any leave relating to the pregnancy. Because those situations implicate other areas of law, including labor and employment, employers should work with outside counsel in addressing leave and benefit policies with respect to pregnant employees.

D.C. Act 21-314 »