October 1st marks one year since Tennessee enacted its state Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and became the 30th state to provide stronger legal protections for pregnant workers. This landmark victory came on the heels of years of advocacy by A Better Balance, which has a Nashville-based Southern Office. We remain proud to have worked alongside a strong coalition of local and state partners and lawmakers to pass the Tennessee PWFA into law with unanimous, bipartisan support. Thanks to this legislation, pregnant workers in the state have had an explicit right to request reasonable accommodations on the job to stay safe and healthy for the last year.
It is worth noting that the Tennessee Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was passed amidst an unprecedented year that exacerbated the existing care crisis faced by those juggling work and caregiving responsibilities and helped expose the lack of crucial protections to help workers care for themselves and their loved ones in times of need. As millions of women, particularly mothers, were pushed from the workforce due to a lack of supportive work-family policies, stronger legal protections to ensure that pregnant women in the state can remain safe without sacrificing their paycheck came at a critical moment for Tennesseans. The passage of this law would not have been possible without the voices of workers like ABB Community Advocate and Teamsters Organizer Tasha Murrell, who, alongside her coworkers, bravely shared her story of horrific mistreatment whilst pregnant and working in a Memphis warehouse to advocate for stronger protections.
A Better Balance is honored to have fought alongside workers like Tasha to pass this vital legislation. As we celebrate one year of the Tennessee PWFA, we remain dedicated to fighting for similar protections for pregnant workers nationwide, working to ensure that these state laws are enforced properly, and to empowering workers with knowledge so that they can exercise their legal rights.