One year ago this week, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) – along with the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act – as part of the omnibus spending package, marking a momentous victory for gender, racial, and economic justice. The passage of the PWFA represented a groundbreaking civil rights victory; starting in June of this year when the law took effect, pregnant and postpartum workers nationwide finally gained a right to the workplace accommodations they have long needed to stay safe and healthy on the job without sacrificing their economic security.
Since 2012, we at A Better Balance have led the decade-long fight to pass the PWFA. We worked tirelessly with partners, lawmakers, and advocates – including our Community Advocates, who bravely shared their firsthand experiences with pregnancy discrimination – to demand dignity, equality, and fairness, once and for all. As ABB Co-Founder and Co-President Dina Bakst said in a recent statement, “We refused to take no for an answer, because the status quo—forcing pregnant workers and new moms to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy or safe recovery from childbirth—was totally unacceptable.”
In the months since the law’s implementation, we have already seen via our free and confidential legal helpline, time and time again, how these critical new protections are making a world of difference in the lives of pregnant and postpartum workers. But our work doesn’t end here: in October, we issued a comprehensive comment applauding the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for its proposed regulations for enforcing the law and offering extensive feedback on how the agency can further strengthen the rule. We anticipate that the final regulations will provide important clarity on the full, broad scope of the law and ensure that the law works for women and families who are depending on it. We have also launched comprehensive know-your-rights resources to support workers far and wide in understanding and exercising their new rights.
As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we remain committed to building on this victory by doubling down our efforts to enforce and increase public awareness of this game-changing law, as well as fighting on the national and state levels for the other workplace protections families across the country need, like paid family and medical leave, paid sick time and more.
Click to watch below to learn more about the road to passing the PWFA: