ASSEMBLY, No. 1465

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2016 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman† PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblywoman† GABRIELA M. MOSQUERA

District 4 (Camden and Gloucester)

Assemblyman† BENJIE E. WIMBERLY

District 35 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblywoman† JOANN DOWNEY

District 11 (Monmouth)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Ensures equal rights and opportunities for pregnant graduate students in institutions of higher education.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

††


An Act concerning pregnancy discrimination in higher education and supplementing chapter 3B of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

†††† 1.† a.† An institution of higher education offering graduate degree programs shall be prohibited from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from a graduate program, or limit graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues.

†††† b.† An institution of higher education offering graduate degree programs shall provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant graduate student to enable the student to complete coursework and research. Reasonable accommodations to a pregnant graduate student shall include, but need not be limited to, allowances for the studentís health and safety, such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances, allowing the student to make up tests and assignments that are missed for pregnancy-related reasons,† allowing a student to take a leave of absence, and excusing medically-necessary absences.

†††† c.† An institution of higher education offering graduate degree programs shall develop and adopt a written policy for graduate students on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for addressing pregnancy discrimination complaints under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Sec.1681 et seq. or under P.L.†† , c.††† (C.†††† ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).† A copy of the policy shall annually be made available to all faculty, staff, and employees. The policy shall be distributed to all graduate students attending orientation sessions at the institution.

 

†††† 2.† a.† A graduate student who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth shall be allowed a period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education in which she is enrolled, or a period of 12 months, whichever period is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations.† The normative time to degree while in candidacy for a graduate degree for a pregnant graduate student shall be increased in an amount equal to the length of the leave of absence, unless a longer extension is medically necessary.†

†††† b.† A graduate student who is not the birth parent and who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the birth of the studentís child shall be allowed a period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled, or a period of one month, whichever period is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations, and an extension of at least one month toward normative time to degree while in candidacy for a graduate degree, unless a longer period or extension is medically necessary to care for the studentís partner or their child.

 

†††† 3.† a.† An enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth shall return to the graduate program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled or of up to one academic year, whichever period is longer, subject to the reasonable administrative requirements of the institution, unless there is a medical reason for a longer absence, in which case her standing in the graduate program shall be maintained during that period of absence.

†††† b.† An enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who is not the birth parent and who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the birth of the studentís child shall return to the graduate program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education at which the student is enrolled, or of up to one month, whichever period is longer, subject to the reasonable administrative requirements of the institution.

 

†††† 4.††† This act shall take effect immediately and shall first apply to the 2015-2016 academic year.†

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill ensures equal rights and opportunities for pregnant graduate students in institutions of higher education.† Under the bill, an institution of higher education offering graduate degree programs is:† prohibited from requiring a graduate student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from a graduate program, or limit graduate studies solely due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related issues; required to provide reasonable accommodations to a pregnant graduate student to enable the student to complete coursework and research; and required to develop and adopt a written policy for graduate students on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for addressing pregnancy discrimination complaints under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 or under the provisions of the bill.

†††† The bill also provides that a graduate student who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth, or because of the birth of his or her child in the case of a student who is not the birth parent, must be allowed extension periods to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations and must be granted extensions toward the normative time to degree while in candidacy for a graduate degree.

†††† The bill provides that an enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who chooses to take a leave of absence because she is pregnant or has recently given birth will return to the graduate program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education or of up to one academic year, whichever period is longer.† If there is a medical reason for a longer absence, the studentís standing in the graduate program will be maintained during that period of absence.† The bill provides that an enrolled graduate student in good academic standing who is not the birth parent and who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the birth of the studentís child will return to the graduate program in good academic standing following a leave period consistent with the policies of the institution of higher education, or of up to one month, whichever period is longer.