NWLC Applauds Senate Passing Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Amendment

(Washington, D.C.) This afternoon, the Senate voted 73-24 to add the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to the omnibus bill.

The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):

“For pregnant workers across the country, today’s Senate vote is a historic victory that has been more than ten years in the making, and the National Women’s Law Center has been there every step of the way. When this end-of year package passes the House and is signed into law, it will no longer be the case that pregnant workers can be ousted from their jobs for simply requesting basic accommodations like permission to sit on a stool, carry a bottle of water, or take additional bathroom breaks. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will make a positive impact on women’s lives—especially for those working in low-paid jobs, which are the most likely to be physically demanding and the least likely to offer flexibility to pregnant workers who need it.  Before this legislation, too often, when a pregnant worker needed a minor change in workplace duties or policies because of pregnancy, she was forced to take unpaid leave or be pushed out of work entirely—at a moment when she and her family could least afford it.  Ensuring reasonable accommodations are available for pregnant workers is a win-win for workers who will continue doing their jobs during their pregnancies and for employers who will retain their workforce.

“This bill is long overdue—and it faced many hurdles along the way, including a handful of extremist anti-abortion lawmakers who tried to turn protections for pregnant workers into a proxy fight around abortion, and in so doing, further jeopardized the health and economic security of millions of women and families. But thanks to the tireless efforts of our champions in Congress, including Majority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Casey, Senator Murray, Senator Cassidy, and Congressman Nadler, and a broad and diverse set of stakeholders—not to mention the many women who shared their personal stories—harmful amendments to the legislation were soundly defeated.

“Today’s thrilling victory for pregnant workers is a recognition and affirmation that pregnancy should not cause families to be pushed into poverty and a reminder that lawmakers have the power to make people’s lives better.”