A Better Balance Co-Founder and Co-President Dina Bakst issued the following statement on Black Maternal Health Week and the urgent need for stronger protections for pregnant workers:
As our nation faces an unprecedented pandemic, we already have troubling data showing the disproportionate impact of the virus on people of color. Coupled with an already-existing Black maternal health crisis, we must be paying particular attention to the needs of Black mothers and pregnant women.In 29 states and 5 cities, pregnant workers may be entitled to reasonable accommodations during this crisis, including personal protective equipment, the ability to telework, and time off if needed. And fortunately, in order to ensure workers are fully informed of their rights, New York City has just released COVID-19 specific guidance, reinforcing the city’s pregnancy accommodation law. This is especially crucial for frontline and essential workers who are at particular risk, and many of whom are women of color.But women in every corner of the country need and deserve these protections. Congress must also pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act without delay to ensure pregnant workers in every state can receive the accommodations to remain healthy during this crisis and beyond.