The $1.7 trillion federal spending bill President Joe Biden signed last Wednesday expanded protections for pregnant and nursing workers.
Proponents of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act — both included as amendments to the spending bill — say the measures clarify rights for these workers, who weren’t properly covered under existing laws.
Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) co-sponsored the measure strengthening pregnant workers’ rights. The law goes into effect June 1st and requires businesses with more than 15 employees to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, unless it causes undue hardship. That means a pregnant worker can’t automatically be denied additional bathroom breaks, be required to lift heavy items or be denied the opportunity to sit while working or other such accommodations. And it means an employer can’t discriminate against a pregnant job applicant who needs such accommodations.
The amendment was supported by those who claimed that neither Pregnancy Discrimination Act (an amend to the Civil Rights Act), nor the Americans with Disabilities Act offered the accommodations pregnant workers required for a healthy childbirth. Because those measures didn’t offer enough protections, 30 states Bloomberg Law shows that some states have passed their own laws to protect pregnant workers.
The Supreme Court’s standard for assessing pregnant workers’ rights and their needs for accommodations made the bill necessary, said Dina Bakst, co-founder of A Better Balance, a nonprofit focused on litigation, legislative advocacy and education on labor issues.
Bakst, in Witness to Congress in favor of the bill, said the Court’s 2015 decision in Young v. UPS “laid out an overly complicated, burdensome standard requiring pregnant workers to jump through legal hoops and prove discrimination” to get accommodations. The court gehalten Pregnant workers may not have the same accommodation as workers who are disabled or injured.
Bakst also testified that a 2019 report by her organization found that as a result of the court’s decision, pregnant workers lost 29 out of 43 Lower courts will hear pregnancy accommodation cases. Elizabeth Gedmark, vice president of A Better Balance, told States Newsroom, said that doesn’t capture the number of workers who never made it to court because of the stress and financial issues related to taking legal action.
“You shouldn’t have to look around and find another coworker or jump through all these hoops or prove that you are disabled under the ADA,” she said. “You should just simply be able to have that reasonable accommodation when you need it, especially to prevent problems and health issues before they even start.”
The United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit ruled that Wal-Mart was safe as of August. It was not in violation Bloomberg reported that Wisconsin’s law that said pregnant workers weren’t included in a policy in a Wisconsin distribution center that allowed workers with injuries on the job to receive work that wouldn’t aggravate them was struck down. Bloomberg also reported the ruling. The court Wal-Mart didn’t need to justify why the policy was restricted to those workers. This argument was made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which brought the case on behalf of the female workers.
Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act passed was a win for gender equity and racial equality. She added, “For far too long, pregnant workers have gone without the critical protections many people need to maintain a healthy pregnancy: protections like the ability to take bathroom breaks during a shift, sit down while working a cash register, or pause to take a drink of water to stay hydrated.”
The legislation was passed with bipartisan support. It has been endorsed by The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Society for Human Resource Management, and National Retail Federation.
Vania LEVILLE, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU, celebrated the passage by the U.S. senators of the PUMP Act for Nursing Mothers. Also included in the spending bill was Jeff Merkley, D-OR and Lisa Murkowski (R–AK).
Advocates said the measure was needed because the Affordable Health Care Act, which requires workers to give break time to breastfeed and privacy for doing so, didn’t cover overtime exempt employees. It left out 9,000,000 women working as childbearing mothers. According to This report was released by the Center for WorkLife Law of the University of California in 2019.
According to the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (the Act), it is meant to fill those gaps. ACLU Center for WorkLife Law. This law also extends the period breastfeeding parents can take advantage of these accommodations. From one year to 2 years.
“The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is so transformational because it expands the coverage of federal laws that provide break time, and space that is not in the bathroom and has to be hygienic for breastfeeding workers,” Gedmark said.
Businesses with 50 or more employees must provide the time and space for pumping immediately, but the ability to bring a complaint against an employer and take legal action doesn’t begin until April.
PUMP Act applies differently to transportation workers. Long-distance bus driver drivers and railroad workers get a three-year delay. The law also provides an exemption for air carriers, and it makes a distinction in the treatment of railroad workers. Employers do not have to provide breaks for railroad workers in train crews if it would be too expensive for the employer and if it created unsafe conditions for another rail worker who has the right of way, the amendment’s language explains.
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