Reintroduction of Bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is ‘Essential Step’ in Protecting Pregnant Workers From Discrimination

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

“The reintroduction of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act today by Senators Casey (D – Penn.), Shaheen (D – N.H.) and Ayotte (R – N.H.) and Representative Nadler (D – N.Y.) is an essential step in the effort to eradicate pregnancy discrimination in this country. Despite existing protections, expecting mothers are still forced out of their jobs or denied minor job modifications that would enable them to continue working. Members of Congress came together today to send a clear message that it is time to change that by passing this badly needed bill.

Today’s bipartisan action is a promising sign that lawmakers are ready to promote the equality and economic security pregnant workers and their families have long needed and deserved. And the stakes couldn’t be higher for women, families and our nation. Women are nearly half the workforce, and nearly 85 percent of women in the United States will become mothers at some point in their working lives. Pregnant workers and their families simply cannot afford to be unnecessarily and unfairly fired our pushed out of their jobs at a time that is so critical for their health and economic security.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would create a clear standard for workers and employers that ensures the same workplace protections for women with pregnancy-related limitations as the protections already in place for workers with similar limitations. The bill 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. It is an important bill that would promote family economic security and healthy pregnancies.

There is no excuse for members of Congress to delay passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Ninety-five percent of Americans support reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. Fourteen states and five cities have passed laws to ensure pregnant workers are entitled to on-the-job modifications, and many of them passed with bipartisan or unanimous support. And despite the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Young v. United Parcel Service, pregnant women may still be denied important protections – and too many are.

The National Partnership commends the lawmakers taking a stand for pregnant workers today. All members of Congress should follow their lead by prioritizing 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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