Pregnant Workers Fairness
Every pregnant worker deserves the opportunity to work to support her family without risking the health of her pregnancy. Yet pregnant workers, especially those in low-wage and physically demanding jobs, are routinely forced to choose between their health and a paycheck.
We have helped pregnant women secure and enforce a clear right to reasonable workplace accommodations–the same right afforded to workers with disabilities under federal law. We are pushing to expand this right to every corner of the country, especially at a time when the COVID-19 and Black maternal health crises continue to rage in our communities.
The Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
In 2021, it is outrageous that pregnant workers are still being pushed off the job. Unfortunately, current federal law doesn’t do enough to support pregnant workers, leaving many pregnant workers without recourse.
Fortunately, there is a solution: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. With our Op-Ed in the New York Times, we launched a movement and led the charge calling for legislative change, directly resulting in Congress introducing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in 2012, which would make it clear that employers cannot force pregnant workers off the job or deny them reasonable accommodations that would allow them to continue working while maintaining healthy pregnancies. For the last nine years, we have continued our deep work to lift up the voices of workers and make the case for a federal legislative fix, even in the face of those who told us it was not necessary.
In 2020, the House of Representatives passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 329-73!
In light of the pandemic and research indicating that pregnant women are at higher risk of serious illness and death if they contract COVID-19, the need for the PWFA is more important than ever. Read more by Dina Bakst in The New York Times.
ABB is leading the movement to make the PWFA a reality.
Take Action: Tell Members of Congress We Need the PWFA Now!
- Resources: Fact Sheet and FAQs and Bill Explainer
- ABB Report: Long Overdue: It Is Time for the Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
- Congressional Testimony:
- ABB Co-President Dina Bakst’s Written and Oral Testimony in Support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act for “Fighting for Fairness” Congressional Hearing, 2021
- ABB Co-President Dina Bakst’s Oral Testimony in Support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act for “Long Over Due” Congressional Hearing, 2019
- Pregnant Workers’ Experiences: The Case for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, In Stories
- Organizational Support: 200+ Organizations Support the PWFA. See here for a list of the advocacy letters.
- Congressional resources: Text of the PWFA bill (H.R. 2694) and House Education & Labor Committee Report on PWFA
- The History of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act: A 40-Year Anniversary Timeline Retrospective
- For additional reports, Op-Eds, fact sheets, and resources, learn more here.
State and Local PWFA Campaigns
As of December 2020, 30 states and 5 cities have stronger protections for pregnant workers in need of workplace accommodations. These protections often pass with bipartisan, and often unanimous, support. A Better Balance helps these campaigns with legislative drafting, messaging, and enforcement, while also leading campaigns in areas where we have support on the ground. Click here for an interactive map of states that have these critical protections.
- Fact Sheet: State Pregnant Workers Fairness Laws
Enforcing the Rights of Pregnant Workers
A Better Balance has provided legal assistance to thousands of pregnant workers who were pushed off the job while pregnant, or who felt forced to risk their health because their employer refused to provide them with a modest accommodation, including high-profile strategic litigation victories to advance systemic change. We are not afraid of taking on industry giants, like Walmart, Amazon, and XPO Logistics, and are proud of what we have accomplished on behalf of our clients, from working with the Department of Justice to force city-wide policy changes in Florence, Kentucky, to accomplishing sweeping reforms at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).
Estimated pregnant workers every year who are denied requests for accommodations, and even more don’t bother asking, for fear of retaliation
Of Americans have personally seen pregnancy discrimination in the workplace