Legislative Protections for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Workers Take Effect Soon

In the January (2023) issue of Library Worklife we mentioned that President Biden had signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill into law on December 29, 2022. The bill included two acts that help working mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (known as the PUMP Act) were both part of the bill.

In the brief details given related to the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), we stated that this bill prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. A qualified employee is an employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position, with specified exceptions.

In the brief details given related to the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP), we stated that this bill expands workplace protections for employees with a need to express breast milk. Specifically, it expands the requirement that employers provide certain accommodations for such an employee to cover salaried employees and other types of workers not covered under existing law. Further, time spent to express breast milk must be considered hours worked if the employee is also working.

We mention these bills now because the PWFA goes into effect on June 27, 2023, and will apply to claims stemming from events occurring on or after this date. This article gives clear details on the Acts and offers practical advice to employers for compliance. This post provides background on the prevalence of pregnancy discrimination, details the PWFA and PUMP Act’s protections and requirements, and offers takeaways for pregnant or nursing employees. Basically, it gives easy-to-understand details regarding who is protected, which employers are covered, which practices are prohibited, what remedies are available, and how to claim your rights. 

Resources

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC’s) Pregnancy Discrimination Guidance