Fighting for Women's Equality

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Introduced in United States Senate

September 19, 2012 | by
San Francisco—Senators Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) today, with the support of Equal Rights Advocates and other women’s advocacy organizations, unions, and business groups. The PWFA would ensure that pregnant women are not forced out of jobs unnecessarily or denied reasonable job modifications that would allow them to continue working. A companion PWFA bill was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Susan Davis (D-CA), and has gained more than 100 co-sponsors.

Earlier this year in conjunction with the introduction of the House version of the bill, ERA released a ground-breaking report highlighting the importance of the new law for working women and their families. Entitled Expecting a Baby, Not a Lay-Off: Why Federal Law Should Require the Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Workers, the report traces 12 years of success of similar legislation in California. The report is available online at https://www.equalrights.org/media/2012/ERA-PregAccomReport.pdf.

“Working families need and want to keep working. ERA strongly supports the PWFA because similar protections under California law make the case for federal change,” said Noreen Farrell, ERA’s Executive Director. “Pregnant women are working with accommodations. Businesses are benefitting from happy and productive long-term employees. It is a win-win.”

To hear the stories of pregnant workers and the simple accommodations that they need but are denied at work, read The Refusal to Accommodate Pregnant Workers: Real Accounts of the Devastating Consequences for Workers and Their Families, compiled by a coalition of national women’s advocacy organizations and Equal Rights Advocates.

About Equal Rights Advocates
Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), founded in 1974, is a national civil rights organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women and girls. Through its campaign approach—incorporating public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation—ERA seeks to assist women and girls throughout a life-long continuum: ensuring equality in their educational experience, combating sex discrimination in the workforce, and advocating for workplaces hospitable to working families. To learn more about ERA’s work, visit www.equalrights.org.

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