In late March, the Supreme Court issued an important ruling for pregnant workers, stating that employers cannot impose a “significant burden” on pregnant workers and that an employer is not justified in making accommodations for a large percentage of non-pregnant workers, while denying the same kinds of accommodations to pregnant workers.
This was awesome. But more is needed.
That’s why we’re supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a federal bill modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires employers to make reasonable, temporary accommodations for pregnant workers who need them, as long as doing so won’t be an undue hardship for the employer. The bill will ensure women nationwide can continue to contribute to the economy and support their families, while having healthy pregnancies.
Check out the top 10 reasons why the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is important, not just for pregnant workers, but for us all:
- It’s good for families.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will be good for the economic security of women and their families. When women are forced out of the workplace while pregnant, they can lose their income and health benefits just when they and their families need them most, sometimes sending them into a dangerous financial spiral.
- It curbs discrimination.
The bill prevents employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace by placing them on unpaid leave, firing them, or forcing them to quit when they are denied the reasonable accommodations that they need to continue working safely during their pregnancies. The bill thus puts women on an equal footing in the workforce.
- It’s good for business.
Employers have every reason to want to keep their good employees producing for them. A happy employee makes a company richer (it’s proven), and a pregnant worker who is protected under the law can continue to work during her pregnancy. It’s in everyone’s best interest — pregnant workers, employers, coworkers and family members — to keep those in the workforce working and protected so they focus on doing the best job possible.
- It’s good for the economy.
What’s good for business is good for the economy. When women are forced out of the workforce despite being able and eager to work, they are less able to contribute to the economy and may need to turn to social services just to get by. Everyone benefits when women fuel our economy, including when they’re pregnant.
- It’s good for our health.
Under current law, women are too often forced to choose between their jobs and the health of their pregnancies, and some may feel compelled to do work that their doctors recommend they avoid while pregnant. This bill will help ensure women don’t face that choice and will lead to healthier outcomes.
- It provides a clear rule for businesses to follow.
The Supreme Court in March ruled in favor of pregnant workers, holding that employers can’t cut them out of accommodations that other workers receive. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act goes further by providing a simple, uniform standard: Employers must provide reasonable accommodations as long as it’s not an undue hardship to do so, regardless of how it treats other workers.
- It promotes safety.
A pregnant worker shouldn’t have to choose between keeping her job and having a healthy pregnancy. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will ensure that a pregnant worker can carry out her job duties without risking her safety, the safety of her pregnancy, and the safety of those around her. A safe work environment means decreased chances of accidents on the job and increased confidence among employees.
- The bill has a lot of support.
A broad range of business associations, women’s advocacy groups, and workers’ groups support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. States and cities across the country have already acted on a bipartisan basis to pass laws protecting pregnant workers, which lawmakers recognize as common-sense measures that benefit everyone. The bill introduced on the federal level today already has bipartisan support.
- It impacts a lot of people.
In the past 12 months alone, 62 percent of pregnant women and new moms were working. More than 4.2 million women gave birth in the last 12 months alone. Of course, pregnancy doesn’t just impact the person having the baby, but the partners, spouses, children, parents, siblings, and more whose lives and livelihoods may be affected.
- It’s the right thing to do.
It can’t be easy carrying a baby and working full-time. We shouldn’t make it any more difficult by allowing employers to fire pregnant workers at will or putting them in dangerous situations where they have to choose between a healthy pregnancy or a job.
We have the power to protect pregnant workers, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is our chance.