(Washington, D.C.) Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act with bipartisan support. Over 40 years after passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, many pregnant workers still face a choice no one should have to make—between the health of their pregnancy and their job—and COVID-19 has made an impossible choice even more fraught. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, S. 1486, would ensure that pregnant workers can continue to do their jobs and support their families by setting out a simple, easy to apply legal standard that would provide clarity for employers and employees alike; it would require employers to make reasonable workplace adjustments for those workers who need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the employer. Because pregnancy is temporary, these accommodations are short-term and are frequently low-cost, such as providing a stool to sit on rather than requiring a worker to stand during a shift or allowing a pregnant worker to keep a bottle of water by her workstation.
The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC):
“Forty-one percent of mothers in the United States are sole or primary breadwinners, and for Black mothers, it’s 68 percent. Yet, pregnant workers are routinely forced to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy. Finally, the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act offers solutions to all pregnant workers who simply want to do their jobs and support their families but are often denied temporary changes to meet their medical needs. Pregnant workers are on the frontlines keeping our country going. It’s past time to ensure they can get the accommodations they need to stay healthy while working. Now the full Senate should quickly take up this bill and make these commonsense protections a reality.”