The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Dina Bakst:
One year ago, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a groundbreaking civil rights law that guarantees long overdue dignity, fairness, and equality for moms and moms-to-be. The passage of the PWFA, as well as the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, which also passed one year ago, marked a momentous victory for gender, racial, and economic justice. For too long, workers with limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, disproportionately women of color in low-wage, physically-demanding, and male-dominated jobs, have been denied the reasonable accommodations they need to protect their health and keep their jobs. Now, the law is squarely on their side.
Since 2012, A Better Balance has relentlessly demanded a legislative fix and led efforts to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. 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. Working with key partners, we built a broad, multi-faceted coalition that united labor, women’s rights, civil rights, maternal health, business and religious groups. And, importantly, we centered the many brave women and mothers who experienced injustice and shared their stories, fighting by our side to demand equality and justice.
Through our free, work-family legal helpline, we are already seeing firsthand how the PWFA is providing a critical lifeline to women and their families in every corner of the country. We hope and expect to see strong final regulations soon issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which will ensure that the PWFA’s vital protections are fully available to those who are depending on them and that the law can be enforced to its fullest extent.