Congress Should Pass Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Before Holiday Break

Statement of Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

"After decades of advocacy on behalf of pregnant workers, all of the legislative pieces are finally in place for Congress to pass long overdue legislation fixing a legal loophole to ensure that workplaces allow for basic, humane accommodations needed to have a healthy pregnancy while holding down a job.

"This week, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the bipartisan bill ready for the President's signature, was blocked by three male Senators looking to play politics on issues of critical importance to women instead of working to ensure that pregnant workers are treated with dignity and respect. They made the claim that they are standing in the way of the wellbeing of nearly three million pregnant workers in the name of religious liberty, a claim made even more absurd by the fact that the bill in its current form is endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It's frustrating that pregnant people, particularly pregnant people of color and those working in low-wage jobs, continue to be used as pawns in the end-of-year negotiations when a diverse coalition of supporters – including Republicans and Democrats, the Chamber of Commerce, women's organizations, faith groups, the labor community, and more – have banded together to support this commonsense bill.

"We applaud the bipartisan commitment of Senator Casey, Senator Murray and Senator Cassidy to get the protections pregnant workers need and deserve, and we thank them for bringing PWFA to the floor this week. Despite the outcome, we at the National Partnership continue to demand that our leaders in Congress pass the PWFA immediately."

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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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