WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest union representing more than 750,000 federal and DC government employees, celebrates the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
The PWFA, which was passed by Congress as part of the 2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act, will require employers to provide a reasonable accommodation to workers for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This landmark civil rights law will ensure that pregnant and postpartum workers are not forced off the job and get the accommodations they need, without facing discrimination or retaliation in the workplace.
“This is a victory for working parents and families and the United States as a whole,” AFGE National Vice President for Women and Fair Practices Jeremy A. Lannan said. “It sends a clear message that we value the health and well-being of all workers and recognize that pregnancy should not be a barrier to equal opportunities at work. By ensuring that pregnant workers are given reasonable accommodations, we are protecting the health of mothers and their unborn children and promoting a more just and equitable society.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will begin accepting charges under the new law when it takes effect on June 27. Until then, EEOC will continue to accept and process cases under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that assert a lack of accommodation regarding pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. EEOC will issue a proposed version of regulations under the new law for a public comment period before they become final.
Specifically, the PWFA guarantees workers the affirmative right to receive reasonable accommodations for known limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions unless the requested accommodations would pose an undue hardship to the employer (similar to the familiar process in place for workers with disabilities).
“This new law ensures that millions of pregnant workers, and those who have recently given birth, can protect their health without risking their paycheck,” AFGE National President Everett Kelley said. “It is a major milestone for gender, racial, and economic justice across the country.”
AFGE has developed a list of frequently asked questions and answers to explain the benefits afforded under this new law. Click here to view.