New Federal Law Expands Protections for Pregnant and Nursing Workers
On Dec. 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act into law. The Act includes new measures for pregnant and breastfeeding workers: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act.
What is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?
The PWFA requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for workers due to limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions unless the accommodations will cause the employer undue hardship.
What are reasonable accommodations under the PWFA?
The Housing Committee on Education and Labor Report on the PWFA provide examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including the ability to:
- Sit or drink water;
- Receive closer parking;
- Have flexible hours;
- Receive appropriate-sized uniforms and safety apparel;
- Receive additional break time to use the bathroom, eat, and rest;
- Take leave or time off to recover from childbirth; and
- Be excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve exposure to compounds not safe for pregnancy.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will release regulations based on the PWFA within two years as required by the Act.
Who does the PWFA protect?
The PWFA protects employees and applicants of covered employers (private and public sector employers with at least 15 employees) who have known limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
What is the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act?
The PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk. Specifically, it expands the requirement that employers provide certain accommodations to cover salaried employees and other types of workers not covered under existing laws.
In addition, the Act requires that time spent to express breast milk must be considered hours worked if the employee is also working. Employers are required to provide these accommodations for two years after the birth of the child.
Help is available
The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer questions regarding the Acts. To speak with an attorney, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website at www.orlaw.com.