Perfectly timed for Mother’s Day, our own U.S. Representative and Democrat Jerrold Nadler has recently introduced new legislation to protect pregnant women. In collaboration with Carolyn Maloney from Queens, Jackie Speier from California and Susan Davis from California, the legislation is also joined by women’s advocacy organizations, unions and business groups. Called The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the bill would help pregnant women to has job security during their pregnancies.
At the moment, pregnant women aren’t allowed certain adjustments in their workplaces that allow them to continue working throughout their pregnancies. The legislation is intended to close some legal loopholes and to make sure that pregnant women are treated fairly at the workplace. It will require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women and also ensure that women aren’t forced out on leave earlier than necessary when an accommodation would have allowed them to remain working.
For instance, in some recent cases, women were asked to take early leave for needing to carry water bottles at work, for requiring extra assistance with heavy lifting required by their job and for asking for assistance with strenuous tasks.
As a recent press release from Representative Nadler’s office explained,
“When American families are struggling to make ends meet, we must do everything we can to keep people in their jobs. This is especially true for pregnant women who are about to have another mouth to feed. Ensuring that a woman who needs minor and reasonable job adjustments to maintain a healthy pregnancy gets that accommodation should be central to our society’s support for strong and stable families. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is an essential means of clarifying our laws so that pregnant women and their families are not allowed to slip through the cracks.”
As co-sponsor of the bill Congresswoman Susan Davis explained, “With more and more women working while pregnant, we need to make sure that their employers provide them the reasonable and necessary accommodations they need (such as access to water) to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. It is unfortunate that Congress needs to even address this issue since any sensible person would consider it inconceivable to fire a pregnant woman for trying to care for the health of herself and her baby.”