Almost 41 years ago, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act to guarantee equal opportunity for millions of working women. But as we pointed out in our recent report Long Overdue, too often, pregnant workers are still being treated as second-class citizens.
Policies that support working women and families are often not only a matter of economic justice, but also an urgent matter of public health. On National Women’s Health Day, here are four federal policies we must pass to ensure the health of working women and their families.
When Natasha Jackson asked her employer for a modest pregnancy accommodation to stay healthy and working, her employer instead forced her off the job as the highest ranking account executive at a Rent-A-Center. They pushed her onto unpaid leave and ultimately terminated her. Without steady income, she and her husband had to abandon their plan to buy a house and were left unable to support their growing family. But now, Natasha is advocating for change: this week, she headed to Capitol Hill to call on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, so women across the country no longer must face the impossible choice between their health and their economic security like she did. “I am asking you to stand up for women like me so we can have an equal opportunity to support our families while protecting our health,” Natasha said.
We spoke with The New York Times Parenting for their recent guide to knowing and exercising your rights when pregnant and working. “Women need to know their rights and feel like they can take advantage of the law for it to be meaningful,” ABB Co-President Dina Bakst told reporter Robin Shulman. The piece highlighted our state-by-state guide to the legal protections available to expecting and new parents.
In time for Mother’s Day, A Better Balance released a new report, “Long Overdue,” detailing the numerous ways pregnant workers are still routinely jeopardizing their health—and economic security—when denied medically necessary reasonable accommodations.