Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Susan Davis (D-CA) and George Miller (D-CA), and a total of 78 co-sponsors have introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. PWFA would require companies to provide pregnant employees with the same types of accommodations that are required for disabled workers under the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to Nadler’s office:

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will accomplish this by requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and preventing employers from forcing women out on leave when another reasonable accommodation would allow them to continue working.  The bill also bars employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

In recent and startling examples, Heather Wiseman, a retail worker in Salina, Kansas, was fired because she needed to carry a water bottle to stay hydrated and prevent bladder infections; Victoria Serednyj, an activity director at a nursing home in Valparaiso, Indiana, was terminated because she required help with some physically strenuous aspects of her job to prevent having another miscarriage; and Peggy Young, a delivery truck driver in Landover, Maryland, was forced out on unpaid leave because she had a lifting restriction and was denied light duty.  For the well-being of pregnant workers, and for the sake of the economic stability of American families, our laws must be updated and clarified.

The National Women’s Law Center has more information in their PWFA factsheet.

Preventing pregnant mothers from having to choose between the jobs they need to provide for their families on one hand, and their own health and the health of their unborn children on the other, seems like the least a country that aspires to be “pro-family” can do. If you agree and you are in the U.S., please contact your Representative to ask him or her to cosponsor the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, H.R. 5647.

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