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Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and Equal Pay Act - New Requirements on Employers

OnDemand Webinar (63 minutes)

Ensure you are in compliance with the updates to the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and Equal Pay Act.

Massachusetts has assumed a position at the forefront of a growing tidal wave of legislation throughout the country regarding equal pay for women and accommodations for pregnancy. This topic will provide an in-depth examination of the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) and the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (MPWFA), two new laws which will impose a series of additional requirements on employers in the coming months.

Effective July 1, 2018, MEPA will make the Commonwealth's equal pay law among the most protective in the country. Not only does MEPA adopt a broad standard that requires equal pay for 'comparable work,' the revised statute includes a stringent prohibition on employers' pay-history inquiries. This material will involve a thorough examination of MEPA, including a unique defense that may allow proactive employers that conduct pay equity audits to escape liability for any alleged gender-based pay disparities.

MPWFA goes into effect on April 1, 2018, and makes Massachusetts one of the first states with a robust law that expressly establishes pregnancy or any condition related to the employee's pregnancy (such as breastfeeding) as a protected class under the state's anti-discrimination law, Chapter 151B. This content helps employers understand their new obligations to provide reasonable accommodations under the MPFWA as well as the law's written notice requirements. Additionally, the topic will discuss employers' obligations to new parents and pregnant workers under existing laws, including the interplay between the MPWFA, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, and the FMLA.

This material is critical for individuals who have responsibilities for Human Resources, Compensation, Leave/Accommodation Management, or Employment Law Compliance because it will provide them with the tools to revise policies and practices to ensure compliance with these new laws in a way that strategically accounts for their employer's business objectives.


Jonathan R. Shank, Jackson Lewis P.C.


The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

• The Basics - Amendment to State Anti-Discrimination Law to Include Pregnancy and Related Conditions

• Written Notice Requirement - Who? What? When?

• Prohibitions on Employer's Actions

Reasonable Accommodations Under the MPWFA

• MPWFA Includes a Non-Exhaustive List of Accommodations

• Documentation: MPFWA Prohibits Employers From Asking for Documentation for Certain Accommodations

• Undue Hardship: What Constitutes Undue Hardship Under the MPFWA?

Putting It All Together

• MCAD Guidance - What Did We Learn From the MCAD's Guidance on the MPWFA?

• Interplay Between the MPWFA, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law, and the FMLA

• Next Steps for Employers

Amendments to the Massachusetts Fair Pay Law

• Goes Into Effect July 1, 2018

• Contains Some of the Most Restrictive Provisions in the Country