(Washington, D.C.) Today, the House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) in a bipartisan 329-73 vote—with103 Republicans voting in support of the bill.This legislation would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for those pregnant employees who need them — just like the law already clearly requires for employees with disabilities. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will close gaps and clarify ambiguities in the law that have left too many pregnant workers unprotected for too long by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations such as allowing pregnant employees to avoid heavy lifting, sit instead of stand during a shift, or have more frequent bathroom breaks when they need it, unless the accommodation is an undue burden for the employer.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):
“Thanks to today’s House vote, millions of pregnant workers across America have gotten that much closer to a day when they won’t be pushed out of work when they can least afford it. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is for all the pregnant workers who just want to do their jobs and support their families, but who are stymied when employers refuse to make even minor temporary changes to accommodate their medical needs. The pandemic makes it indisputable: when many pregnant workers are on the frontlines keeping the country going, it’s indefensible to deny them the accommodations they need to stay healthy. Now it’s the Senate’s turn to make it official: In 2020, no one should be forced to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy.”