National Partnership for Women & Families

Senate Introduction of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a "Welcome and Necessary Step Forward" for Women and Families

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — September 19, 2012 —

"It has been nearly 35 years since we banned pregnancy discrimination in this country. Yet pregnant women are still being fired, forced out of their jobs and denied employment and promotion opportunities and it hurts them, their families and our economy. That is why we are so pleased that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill with substantial and growing support in the House of Representatives, was introduced in the Senate today. It is a welcome and necessary step forward for women, families and the ongoing effort to curb pregnancy discrimination in this country.

More than three in five pregnant women in the United States (62 percent) are in the labor force and their incomes are critical to their families’ economic security, especially when a new child is on the way. Yet, too often, pregnant women are forced out of their jobs or denied minor job modifications even though employers routinely make similar modifications for male employees who have been injured, had heart attacks or are temporarily impaired. This is unfair and unacceptable.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would promote the kind of equality pregnant workers and their families have long needed and deserved. By ensuring the same workplace protections for women with pregnancy-related limitations as the protections already in place for workers with similar limitations, it would prevent employers from forcing pregnant women out of the workplace and help ensure that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who want to continue working.

In a country that claims to value family and fairness, we must not allow workers to be unnecessarily and unfairly pushed out of their jobs due to pregnancy. We commend Senators Robert Casey (D — Penn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D — N.H.) for championing this bill. In the U.S. House of Representatives, 108 legislators have already gotten behind it. Now, it’s time for all members of Congress to make it a priority."

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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