We’re proud to share a recap of just some of the progress for work-family justice we’ve made this year, with you by our side! 2023 has been another busy year of advocating for and achieving new legislative victories as we work every day to put the law in action by implementing, enforcing, and defending these hard-won workplace policies and educating workers about their rights.
We know that as we fight for more fair and equitable workplaces for families, we are playing a pivotal role in advancing economic, gender, and racial justice nationwide. And in the process of changing our nation’s laws, we are also changing the culture, so that the crucial work of providing care is valued and treated with the respect it deserves.
1. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) passed at the end of 2022 and took effect in June of this year, marking a momentous and long overdue victory for women and families across the country who will benefit from this groundbreaking civil rights law! Over a ten year movement, we led the way to passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, covering tens of millions of workers in all 50 states.
2. The PUMP Act, which also took full effect this year, closes gaps in federal law which meant workers in important industries like teaching, nursing, and agriculture were excluded from a federal right to private space and time to pump in the workplace. We secured rights for 9 million more nursing workers to private space and time to pump milk under the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act.
3. Momentum around paid family and medical leave policies at the state level has been steadily growing in recent years, and 2023 saw two exciting new victories. In 2023, we helped Minnesota and Maine pass paid family & medical leave programs, covering more than 3 million workers with this important legal right, so they can take the time they need to welcome a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, or attend to their own medical needs.
4. Policies that provide paid family leave for state government employees to care for a new child and, in some cases, a seriously-ill family member, are critical steps forward in the movement for paid leave for all, particularly in the South. With our support, 35 states have passed policies providing paid parental or family leave to public sector employees.
5. No worker should be forced to choose between their health and their paycheck. Sixteen states and dozens of jurisdictions now have paid sick time laws on the books, with Minnesota joining the list this year! But our work doesn’t stop there. We are also fighting every day to enforce these laws, defend workers’ rights to paid sick time, and hold employers accountable in the courts. This year, we fought in in the courts to restore paid sick time to over 1.8 million workers in Michigan.
6. Strong regulations are key to ensuring that new workplace laws like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act can be enforced to their full extent, so their vital protections are fully available to those who are depending on them. We made a huge push for strong enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, submitting a detailed, 100-page comment providing recommendations based on our deep expertise and informed by the firsthand experiences of hundreds of workers across 44 states and driving more than 8,000 comments to the EEOC from individuals in support of strong regulations.
7. A Better Balance is here to support workers nationwide in understanding and exercising their rights in the workplace as they care for themselves and the people they love. Through our free-legal helpline and robust digital resources, we provided vital direct legal support and education, helping thousands of workers across the country to exercise their rights under the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, PUMP Act, new and existing state paid family and medical leave and paid sick time laws, and more.
8. We are shaping the public conversation around workplace issues and the movement to value and support caregivers. In 2023, we were featured in over 125 stories from national and local media outlets, from the New York Times to CNN, from the Nashville Scene to Colorado Public Radio.
For a full update on this year’s progress for work-family justice, read our 2023 End of Year Newsletter.