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.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was introduced in the Senate in 2021 with bipartisan support and passed in the House of Representatives in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 315-101! In August 2021, the Senate Health Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted the PWFA out of committee in a strong bipartisan vote and it is now ready for a vote on the Senate floor.
ABB is leading the movement to make the PWFA a reality.
Learn More About the Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:
- Organizational Sign-On Letter to Prioritize PWFA in Omnibus Spending Bill (2022)
- Letter: Senator Schumer Must Ensure the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Passes Without Delay (2022)
- Letter of Support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2021)
- Business Coalition Letter to the House of Representatives in Support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2021)
- Letter from Maternal Health Equity Organizations in Support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2021)
- A Better Balance Pregnant Workers Fairness Act House Vote Recommendation (2021)
- See here for a list of organizational advocacy letters
- Centering the Experiences of Black Mamas in the Workplace: How The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Can Support Black Maternal Health (2022)
- From Statehouses to Congress – Paving the Way for the Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2022)
- Long Overdue: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a Critical Measure to Remove Barriers to Women’s Workplace Participation and Promote Healthy Pregnancies (June 2021 Update)
- Issue Brief: The Pandemic & The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2021)
- Long Overdue: It Is Time for the Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (2019)
- Pregnant and Jobless (2015)
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