Protections for Pregnancy-Related Conditions: Increased Workplace Rights for Women
Article Written By Oliver M. Bauer
Two recently enacted federal laws greatly increase protections for pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace. The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP Act”), effective April 28, 2023, expands protections for employees who need to express breast milk while at work. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”), effective June 27, 2023, requires employers to offer additional accommodations for pregnant employees.
Under the PWFA, examples of possible accommodations may include closer parking spaces, additional break time to rest, eat, or use the restroom, flexible hours, leave or time off to recover from childbirth, being excused from strenuous activity, job reassignment, and assistance with manual labor. Morning sickness, a common ailment during pregnancy, can now be accommodated under the PWFA. Determining how to accommodate a pregnant employee requires an interactive process between the employer and employee. Employers should communicate with an employee about the need for accommodations and the specific accommodations that may be necessary. An employee is not required to request accommodations in writing; any method of communication is sufficient to trigger an employer’s obligation to engage in the interactive process.
The PUMP Act requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth. Employees are entitled to a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
If you have questions or concerns about how these new laws may impact you or your business, please contact Attorney Oliver Bauer.