The US federal government has included amendments to the $1.7tn spending package, which will provide new workplace protections for pregnant women and new mothers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will mandate that employers make temporary and reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, such as additional bathroom breaks or stools for workers who stand for long periods. The act was introduced in 2012 by Senator Bob Casey, who said: “Pregnancy should never be a barrier for women who want to stay in the workplace.” The act passed the Senate with a 73-24 vote and the House of Representatives in May 2021.

The Senate also passed the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act with a 92-5 vote, protecting a worker’s right to breastfeed in the workplace. The act expanded on a 2010 law that required employers to provide adequate time and an area for mothers to pump and store breast milk at work. However, the 2010 law did not protect nearly 9 million women of childbearing age, according to Sarah Brafman, national policy director at A Better Balance, a nonprofit advocacy organization focused on workers’ rights.

“It is a monumental and historic step forward for pregnant and post-partum workers,” said Brafman of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The act will provide protections for women who have previously been unable to share their experiences with advocates due to a lack of legal protections. This includes pregnant women who have been pushed out of their jobs for requesting light duty and women who have been denied schedule accommodations due to morning sickness. The act will also provide protections for low-income workers, particularly women of color, in low-wage, physically demanding jobs.

For those who have been the target of pregnancy discrimination at work, working with a qualified and knowledgeable attorney is often the best course of action for addressing these issues effectively. At Risman & Risman, we offer expert legal help for those facing discrimination in the workplace. Our team can provide you with specialized legal services for your issues. Give us a call today at 212-233-6400 to schedule a free initial consultation with our team.

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