Bill Text: NJ S3276 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt pregnancy policy for law enforcement officers.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-12-14 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee [S3276 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S3276-Introduced.html

 SENATE, No. 3276

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 14, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt pregnancy policy for law enforcement officers.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning a pregnancy policy for law enforcement officers and supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  a.  Every State, county, and municipal law enforcement agency shall establish a pregnancy policy for law enforcement officers that is consistent with the provisions of this section.  The policy shall apply to all female law enforcement officers who have successfully met entry level probation requirements. 

     b.    A law enforcement officer who becomes pregnant shall, upon confirmation of pregnancy and decision to continue the pregnancy, notify the officer's immediate supervisor, who shall notify the chief law enforcement executive through the chain of command.  The law enforcement officer shall provide written documentation from a medical practitioner, including the anticipated due date, if possible. 

     c.     (1)  Upon notification of a pregnancy, a law enforcement officer shall be permitted to continue to work in the officer's usual full-duty status until the officer and the officer's physician deem it in the best interest of the officer and the baby to do otherwise.  Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection and subsection g. of this section, the law enforcement agency shall not require an officer to accept a maternity duty assignment pursuant to subsection d. of this section or to take leave, absent a compelling medical or public safety reason.

     (2)   The law enforcement agency shall make every reasonable effort to avoid assigning full-duty pregnant officers to units in which the work involves the likelihood of encountering toxic chemicals or suffering physical harm.

     (3)   Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, if, as the pregnancy progresses, it becomes necessary for the law enforcement agency to reevaluate the officer's continuing ability to safely and effectively perform the essential functions of the officer's position, the law enforcement agency may consider whether the pregnancy creates an undue safety risk to the officer, co-workers, or the public.  In making this determination, the law enforcement agency may consult with the law enforcement agency's physician and the officer's physician.  If the law enforcement agency determines that the officer's condition unreasonably interferes with her ability to perform in a full-duty capacity, the law enforcement agency may reassign the officer to maternity duty pursuant to subsection d. of this section.  Except as provided in subsection g. of this section and absent a compelling medical or public safety reason, the officer shall not be required to take leave.

     d.    (1)  During a pregnancy, upon written recommendation of a physician, a law enforcement officer may request a temporary reassignment to alternative duty, to be known as maternity duty.  Absent specific medical considerations, officers assigned to maternity duty shall continue in full-time working status; however consideration may be given for part-time assignments for officers whose medical condition warrants this accommodation.

     (2)   Maternity duty may consist of, but is not limited to, the following:

     (a)  nonhazardous assignments;

     (b)  writing police reports;

     (c)  operating a police radio;

     (d)  interviewing persons;

     (e)  clerical functions; or

     (f)  investigative functions that do not put the officer at risk of being harmed.

     (3)  Maternity duty assignments shall not involve:

     (a)  alternating shift work;

     (b)  defensive tactics or defensive tactics training;

     (c)  firearms training, except simulated training;

     (d)  patrol duties;

     (e)  extensive exposure to automobile exhaust fumes;

     (f)  standing for more than 30 minute intervals;

     (g)  lifting more than 25 pounds;

     (h)   exposure to high concentrations of toxins, chemicals, or infectious agents, or controlled dangerous substances;

     (i) any contact with inmates, except in an emergency situation; or

     (j) any other work that involves a high likelihood of suffering harm.

     The law enforcement agency also shall consider any specific restrictions identified by the officer's physician.  Temporary reassignment of an officer to maternity duty shall be made consistent with the operational needs of the law enforcement agency.

     (4)  Except as provided in subsection f. of this section, a law enforcement officer working in a maternity duty status may retain possession of a firearm issued by a law enforcement agency.

     e.  (1)  A law enforcement officer who is pregnant and on full-duty status may modify the officer's uniform to accommodate the pregnancy by purchasing maternity trousers and shirts through the law enforcement agency's uniform supplier. 

     (2)   A law enforcement officer who is pregnant and on full-duty status shall not be exempt from wearing body armor when engaged in field activities or from wearing the officer's regulation duty belt or service weapon. 

     A law enforcement officer who is pregnant and on maternity duty shall be exempt from wearing body armor and the officer's regulation duty belt, however the officer shall carry her duty sidearm in the off- duty holster issued by the law enforcement agency or an alternate holster approved by the law enforcement agency.

     (3)   Any cost associated with the purchase of uniform maternity trousers and shirts through the uniform supplier or modifying the body armor shall be the responsibility of the officer, unless otherwise provided for in the law enforcement agency's collective bargaining agreement.

     (4)   When the pregnancy progresses to the point that wearing a uniform is not feasible, the chief of police may permit the officer to wear plain clothes if the officer is assigned to maternity duty.

     When the pregnancy progresses to the point where wearing a sidearm is not feasible, the chief of police may permit an exemption.

     f.  (1)  A law enforcement officer who is pregnant shall be exempt from the mandatory handgun qualification requirements until the officer is certified for full-duty status, at which time the officer shall be scheduled for a handgun qualification by the supervising firearms instructor. 

     (2)   If the law enforcement officer is beyond the mandatory handgun qualification period, the officer shall be required to surrender the officer's department-issued sidearm to the supervising firearms instructor, who shall provide notification of this requirement to the officer, and shall be prohibited from wearing an off-duty firearm until the officer has been re-qualified by the supervising firearms instructor.

     g.    (1)  Any evaluation made by the law enforcement agency's physician shall be limited to a review of the officer's medical records, which shall be provided by the officer, and consultation with the officer and the officer's physician.  The law enforcement agency's physician shall not routinely examine the officer for pregnancy-related matters.  If the medical records provided by the officer are insufficient to make a determination regarding the officer's assignment, the physician may recommend that the officer be examined by an obstetrician gynecologist.

     (2)  A law enforcement officer who is pregnant shall be permitted to work as long as the officer is able to perform the duties of her job and shall not be subjected to special procedures to determine the officer's ability to work.

     If the officer becomes unable to perform the functions of her maternity duty assignment, the law enforcement agency may require the officer to take leave in compliance with the Family and Medical Leave Act and any other applicable law.

     If an officer has been temporarily absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and she recovers, she shall not be required to remain on leave until the officer gives birth.

     h.    (1) When an officer, who has been on an extended absence of 30 calendar days or longer due to pregnancy, plans to return to duty, the officer shall:

     (a)   request to meet with the officer's commanding officer immediately upon returning to work;

     (b)   provide documentation of medical fitness for duty, subject to review by the law enforcement agency's medical advisor;

     (c)   assist the officer's commanding officer in identifying her individual needs, which may include accommodations for lactation; and

     (d)   accomplish all reintegration tasks as directed by the commanding officer.

     (2)  When a law enforcement officer returns to duty after an extended absence of 30 calendar days or longer due to pregnancy, the officer's commanding officer shall meet with the officer and conduct a reintegration interview.  A reorientation program shall be developed for each individual employee taking into consideration the unique circumstances of that officer.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month after enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a pregnancy policy for law enforcement officers.

     Under the provisions of this bill, every State, county, and municipal law enforcement agency is required to adopt a pregnancy policy consistent with the provisions of this bill.  The policy is to apply to all female law enforcement officers who have successfully met entry level probation requirements. 

     Under the bill, a law enforcement officer who becomes pregnant is required, upon confirmation of pregnancy and the decision to continue the pregnancy, to notify the officer's immediate supervisor, who is then required to notify the chief law enforcement executive through the chain of command. 

     The bill also provides that upon notification of pregnancy, a law enforcement officer is to be permitted to continue to work in the officer's usual, full-duty assignment until the officer and the officer's physician deem it in the best interest of the officer and the baby to do otherwise.  Except as provided for under the bill, the law enforcement agency is not to require an officer to accept a maternity duty assignment or take leave absent a compelling medical or public safety reason.

     However, the bill provides that if, as the pregnancy progresses, it becomes necessary for the law enforcement agency to reevaluate the officer's continuing ability to safely and effectively perform the essential functions of the officer's position, the law enforcement agency may consider whether the pregnancy creates an undue safety risk to the officer, co-workers, or the public.  If the law enforcement agency determines that the officer's condition unreasonably interferes with her ability to perform in a full-duty capacity, the law enforcement agency may reassign the officer to maternity duty as defined under the bill.  Except as provided for under the bill and absent a compelling medical or public safety reason, the officer is not to be required to take leave.

     The bill also provides that during a pregnancy, upon written recommendation of a physician, a law enforcement officer may request a temporary reassignment to maternity duty.  Maternity duty may consist of, but is not limited to: nonhazardous assignments, writing police reports, operating a police radio, interviewing persons, clerical functions, or investigative functions that do not put the officer at risk of being harmed.  Maternity duty assignments are not to include: alternating shift work; defensive tactics or defensive tactics training; firearms training, except simulated training; patrol duties; extensive exposure to automobile exhaust fumes; standing for more than 30 minute intervals; lifting more than 25 pounds; exposure to high concentrations of toxins, chemicals, or infectious agents or controlled dangerous substances; any contact with inmates, except in an emergency situation; or any other work that involves a high likelihood of suffering physical harm.

     In addition, the bill sets forth permissible uniform modifications for law enforcement officers who are pregnant.  Further, the bill provides that law enforcement officers who are pregnant are exempt from the mandatory handgun qualification requirements until the officer is certified for full-duty status.  If the officer is beyond the mandatory handgun qualification period, the officer is to be required to surrender the officer's department-issued sidearm and is prohibited from wearing an off-duty firearm until the officer has re-qualified.

     In addition, the bill provides that any evaluation made by the law enforcement agency's physician is to be limited to a review of the officer's medical records and consultation with the officer and the officer's physician.  The law enforcement agency's physician is not to routinely examine the officer for pregnancy-related matters.  Under the bill, a law enforcement officer is to be permitted to work as long as the officer is able to perform the duties of her job and is not to be subjected to special procedures to determine the officer's ability to work.  The bill provides that if the officer becomes unable to perform the functions of her maternity duty assignment, the law enforcement agency may require the officer to take leave in compliance with the Family and Medical Leave act and any other applicable law.

     Finally, the bill provides for certain procedures when an officer returns to duty after maternity leave, including meeting with the officer's commanding officer, providing documentation of medical fitness for duty, assisting the officer's commanding officer in identifying her individual needs, which may include accommodations for lactation, and accomplishing all reintegration tasks as directed by the commanding officer.  The bill also requires the officer's commanding officer to conduct a reintegration interview and develop a reorientation program for each officer.

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