1. An Act Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Our State (ACCESS) (S.2210/H.4009)
This bill expands health insurance coverage of contraceptives in the Commonwealth. Under this bill health insurance policies must cover: all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices or their therapeutically equivalent alternatives, all FDA-approved over-the-counter contraceptive drugs and devices, a 12-month supply of contraceptive drugs and devices in a single dispensation, voluntary sterilization procedures, and education and follow-up for any provided contraceptive drugs and devices. This will improve women’s access to contraceptives throughout the Commonwealth.
This bill provides safeguards for employees with conditions of pregnancy, childbirth, and other related aspects. The bill allots for ‘reasonable accommodations’ to be taken and provided by the employer. These accommodations include but are not limited to: more or frequent breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedule.
Lead Sponsor: Sen. Michael Brady and Sen. Viriato deMacedo, Rep. Elizabeth Poirier and Rep. Christine Barber
This bill establishs three new regional commissions on the status of women and girls: an Eastern Regional Commission, an Upper Middlesex Commission, and a Plymouth County Commission. The role of the regional commissions is to review the status of women in their communities and then make recommendations regarding policies and programs that would increase opportunities and equalities. The commissions are required to file an annual report on activities, findings, and recommendations. Members will serve three year terms in a volunteer capacity.
4. An Act Establishing a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (passed as part of a larger legislative bundle)
Lead Sponsors: Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Kenneth Gordon
This bill establishes employee rights to family medical leave or temporary disability leave in the event of the following: the birth of a child of the employee, the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, or the necessity of an employee to care for a family member that has been diagnosed with a serious health condition for a period of time. Further, the bill safeguards the position, compensation, status, and benefits of the employee upon return from leave so long as ample notice to the employer is given.