Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Better Protections for Pregnant Workers Under Landmark Discrimination Law

President Joe Biden signed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) into law in December, giving employees the legal right to request “reasonable accommodation” for pregnancy, childbirth, and associated medical issues.

It is anticipated that this policy change will benefit 2.8 million workers every year. According to the law, employees who are pregnant or just gave birth may be entitled to benefits like lighter workloads, riskier tasks, flexible scheduling, longer breaks, closer parking spots, roomier uniforms, bed rest time off, and remote work possibilities.

Protections for Pregnant Workers

Employers are obligated to have sincere conversations with workers who request reasonable accommodations to understand their needs and find solutions. Employers are not permitted to withhold job chances due to a requirement for accommodation, demand forced to leave when there are other options, take adverse action in response to complaints of discrimination, or interfere with PWFA rights.

With one exception, employers may request an exception if accommodating a pregnant or postpartum worker would result in excessive hardship, significant difficulty, or expense. The rule applies to private and public sector employers with a minimum of 15 employees.

  • Biden signs PWFA, granting employees reasonable accommodation rights.
  • Employers must have sincere conversations with workers, and avoid withholding job opportunities, discrimination, or interference.
  • PWFA addresses legal protection for employees seeking medical accommodations.

The EEOC will release implementation-related recommendations by the end of this year and will welcome feedback from the general public.

Before the PWFA, employees who needed pregnancy-related accommodations due to a medical condition lacked legal protection and frequently had to quit their positions, which put them in a precarious financial situation.

According to the EEOC, 23% of moms thought about quitting their jobs because of insufficient accommodations or apprehension about discrimination during pregnancy.

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