The United States has taken significant strides over the years in the pursuit of gender equality. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act represents one such stride.
A federal law enacted to help safeguard the rights of pregnant women in the workplace, the PWFA promotes fairness and prohibits discrimination. In doing so, it makes it easier for women to continue their careers while expecting.
How the PWFA works
The PWFA, signed into law in 2020, helps protect pregnant employees from discrimination at their workplaces. It offers pregnant women the necessary accommodations to help them maintain their jobs and preserve their financial stability during pregnancy. The act applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
A key provision of the PWFA is the requirement for employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers. These accommodations may include modifying work schedules, providing more frequent breaks or adjusting job duties temporarily to accommodate physical limitations. These changes help ensure that pregnant women can continue working without compromising their health or the health of their unborn children.
How the PWFA protects against discrimination
The PWFA prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on pregnancy or related conditions. Employers cannot make hiring or promotion decisions or take adverse actions, such as termination, because of an employee’s pregnancy status. Furthermore, it is against the law to harass or mistreat pregnant workers due to their condition.
The Bipartisan Policy Network reports that one in five American mothers experience pregnancy discrimination at work. The PWFA makes it easier for women to balance their personal and professional lives without fear of discrimination.