Worker Health and Wellness Legislation Worker health and wellness

House lawmakers reintroduce Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

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Washington — A bipartisan group of lawmakers is attempting once again to “eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694) was reintroduced in the House May 14 and then referred to four separate committees.

Advocacy group MomsRising says the “common-sense, badly needed” legislation would close loopholes in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. According to a May 14 press release from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who co-sponsored the legislation, the bill would prevent workers from being denied employment opportunities based on the need for “reasonable” accommodations, including an extra bathroom break, a chair or a bottle of water.

“Women make up almost half the workforce, yet continue to face unjust and unnecessary obstacles in the workplace, whether it is lack of paid family or sick leave, paycheck disparities, or pregnancy discrimination. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would remove one of those hurdles by ensuring that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job,” Chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), a bill co-sponsor, said in the release from Nadler’s office.

 

The law is “closely modeled” on the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other co-sponsors include Reps. John Katko (R-NY), Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

Legislators in both chambers have offered up identically titled bills numerous times since the beginning of 2012, most recently in 2017, but none has made it out of committee.

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