Women’s Leader Calls for Swift Passage of Bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“This past weekend, our country celebrated and honored mothers, yet at the same time too many pregnant women in the United States are still discriminated against and denied reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Recently the harrowing consequences of pregnancy discrimination have been brought to light in the national media. These tragic and heartbreaking incidents show that more than 40 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnant workers still face hostile working conditions that can impact their pregnancies as well as their livelihood.

Discrimination and harassment against pregnant workers can lead to job loss, financial instability for workers and their families, and can even threaten the health of a pregnancy. While 25 states, the District of Columbia and four cities have laws requiring some employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers, the ability to continue working while pregnant should not depend on where one lives or works. That is why we are encouraged to see Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-Ill.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in the House today. This legislation would help ensure that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant women who want to continue working. The bill would strengthen and clarify the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has bipartisan support in addition to support from eight leading private-sector companies that have asked Congress to take action.

Today’s introduction is yet another example of the 116th Congress meeting the needs and priorities of America’s women and families. Already this session, the House of Representatives — under new leadership — has passed the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the gender wage gap and held the first-ever House hearing focused exclusively on paid leave. Both chambers have introduced legislation to guarantee paid sick days and paid family and medical leave, raise the minimum wage, and address and prevent sexual harassment. We implore all members to continue fighting for women by supporting and swiftly passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.”

About the National Partnership

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

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