University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement

Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Employees

(Approved by the President per delegations of authority Executive Order No. 4 and Executive Order No. 9)

1.  Purpose

University policy is to provide employees with reasonable accommodation necessitated by pregnancy or pregnancy-related health conditions, including the need to express breast milk. This policy specifically addresses the requirements of RCW 43.10.005, which provides specific accommodations for pregnant employees. Requests for accommodation not addressed in this policy may be addressed by APS 46.5.

2.  Pregnancy-Related Accommodations Not Requiring Health Care Provider Certification

Per RCW 43.10.005, the following pregnancy-related accommodations shall not require health care provider certification and are not subject to an employer's claim of undue hardship:

  • Providing more frequent, longer, or flexible restroom breaks;

  • Modifying a no food or drink policy;

  • Providing seating or allowing the employee to sit more frequently if her job requires her to stand;

  • Restricting lifting to 17 lbs. or less;

  • Providing reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for two years after the child's birth when the employee has need to express milk; and

  • Providing a private location, other than a bathroom, if such a location exists at the place of business or worksite, which may be used by the employee to express breast milk. If the business location does not have a space for the employee to express milk, the employer shall work with the employee to identify a convenient location and work schedule to accommodate their needs.

3.  Pregnancy-Related Accommodations That Require Health Care Provider Certification

Per RCW 43.10.005, an employee's pregnancy or pregnancy-related health condition may also be accommodated as follows:

  • Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, or acquiring or modifying equipment, devices, or an employee's work station;

  • Providing for a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position;

  • Providing assistance with manual labor and limits on lifting;

  • Scheduling flexibility for prenatal visits; and

  • Any further pregnancy accommodation an employee may request.

With respect to these accommodations, the University may request an employee provide written certification from her treating health care provider regarding the need for reasonable accommodation and may deny an employee's request for reasons of significant difficulty or expense.

4.  Requesting Accommodations Covered by this Policy

As some of the accommodations may require the need for brief periods of work coverage or other minor work adjustments, employees are expected to discuss their accommodation needs with their supervisor or manager. Supervisors or managers should acknowledge the request and how it will be implemented in writing.

5.  Additional Information and Responsible Offices

Employees or supervisors who have questions or concerns about implementing the pregnancy-related accommodations required by this policy should contact the appropriate Human Resource Consultant (for staff employees) or the Disability Services Office (for academic personnel appointees). To request this information in an alternate format, contact the Disability Services Office.

6.  History

June 14, 2018; August 6, 2019.