New regulations concerning pregnant employees looks to be passed at some
point this year. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or PWFA, is currently
waiting for a vote and was referred to the Congress’ Subcommittee
on Workforce Protection.
The law has its origins in the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission
(EEOC) which has been pushing for the rights of pregnant women in the
workforce for the past couple of years. The agency was able to combine
applicable parts of guidelines already on the books, including Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What would the PWFA do for pregnant workers?
The PWFA is set to launch new regulations to ensure the rights of expectant
parents. Employers will be ordered to make appropriate accommodations
for the realities associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical
needs, with the end being to guarantee that employees do not need to fear
being obligated to make the extremely difficult choice between pregnancy
and their job.
The benefits of passing the PWFA seem clear: pregnant women will be allowed
to remain working, which ensures the financial stability of their family.
It may also go a long way towards reducing healthcare costs, which could
support the overall economy.
Interestingly, the Job Accommodation Network found most employers who were
forced to provide accommodations related to the ADA reported no new costs,
which may translate to the added accommodations the PWFA would bring.
Furthermore, those employers who make these accommodations for pregnant
employers reap the benefits of reduced turnover, higher productivity,
and lower litigation costs, now that the rights of employees and obligations
of employees would be made transparent.
If you are a federal employee who has been discriminated against in any
way, a member of our team is available to evaluate whether you have a