Despite the fact that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act became federal law in 1978, pregnancy discrimination remains a pervasive problem in the United States. As measured by complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the problem has grown over the last decade. In Maryland and around the country, too often pregnant workers are forced into unpaid leave or lose their jobs because employers will not make modest, temporary, reasonable accommodations that would enable them to continue working and providing essential support to their families.
Maryland’s new prohibition on pregnancy discrimination will help a lot of families. In 2010, more than 54,000 job-holding women in Maryland were pregnant and providing critical income for their families. The National Partnership for Women & Families testified in support of the Maryland bill, which will help ensure equal employment opportunities for pregnant workers without unduly burdening employers.
Today, Maryland follows states like Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana and Texas in adopting such a law; Minnesota and Michigan also have state statutes that require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. Just this week, members of Congress introduced federal legislation to establish a national standard, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
We commend every legislator who supported Maryland’s bill, Senator Joanne Benson and Delegate Tom Hucker for championing it, and Governor O’Malley for signing it into law. This is good for the state’s women and families, and its economy. We urge Congress to follow Maryland’s lead by quickly 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.