The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) goes into effect on June 27, 2023, providing additional protections for pregnant employees in the workplace. The PWFA requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations for workers’ limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Who must comply with the PWFA?
The PWFA applies to public and private employers with 15 or more employees. Employers are also required to comply with any other state or local laws that are more protective of pregnant workers, as well as existing laws such as Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the PUMP Act (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act) (effective April 2023).
What does the PWFA mean for employers?
- Employers should work with pregnant employees to determine what accommodations are reasonable and necessary. Some examples could include: the ability to sit or drink water, receive closer parking, have flexible hours, receive appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel, receive additional break time, take leave or time off to recover from childbirth, and be excused from certain activities. Employers are not required to provide accommodations that impose a significant difficulty or expense for the employer.
- If an accommodation is available that would allow a pregnant worker to continue working, employers cannot require employees to take leave.
- Employers cannot deny employment opportunities to qualified employees or applicants based on their need for reasonable accommodations due to pregnancy.
- Employers cannot retaliate against individuals for reporting violations or discrimination under the PWFA. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will investigate violations of the PWFA and will begin accepting charges on June 27, 2023.
If you need assistance understanding how the PWFA may affect your business or navigating employer-employee discussions on reasonable accommodations, feel free to contact our office.
This blog post is designed to provide general information on pertinent legal topics. The statements made are provided for educational purposes only. This blog does not provide legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Smith + Malek, PLLC. If you want to create an attorney-client relationship and have specific questions regarding the application of the law to your own circumstances, you should contact our office.