One frequently asked question about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (and other civil rights and labor laws, like the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act) is whether it applies to seasonal workers. With summertime in full swing and many younger workers in particular taking seasonal jobs in hospitality, restaurants, retail, agricultural, and other occupations, it is important to know that two new federal laws—the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and PUMP Act—apply to seasonal and temporary workers.
That means that a pregnant or postpartum worker who takes a restaurant job for the summer now has a right to reasonable accommodations under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), like the ability to take breaks to sit. Seasonal workers have these rights as soon as they start their job and can continue to use accommodations throughout their tenure e so long as they’re not too difficult or expensive for their employer. A summer camp counselor who recently gave birth and needs to pump milk to continue feeding their baby can take breaks to do so under both the PWFA and PUMP Act. Workers can also get accommodations under the Pregnant Workers Fairness act if they’re applying for a job!
During the summer, many young people in their teens and early 20’s work seasonal jobs, and year-round temporary employment is also common for this demographic. Although the average age of first time mothers in the United States is trending upward (the current average is 27 years old), there were still close to half a million individuals aged 16-24 who became first-time mothers in 2021.
For those young people who haven’t yet become parents, it is important not only to know your rights under these new laws now, but also for the future if you are planning a family later on.
We are working to ensure that many types of workers, including seasonal workers and younger workers, know their rights under the law. We are also encouraging workers to share their perspectives and unique expertise, especially young people whose careers will be greatly shaped by their first work experiences, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who will be issuing regulations on the PWFA. Stay tuned on this important engagement opportunity–they need to hear your voice!