Deliana Speights

Empowering working mothers
UFCW helped pass Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to help working moms

By Deliana Speights, Secretary-Treasurer

Juggling the demands of a career and motherhood is a challenge faced by women around the world. The physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy can often lead to significant difficulties in the workplace.

The UFCW and Women’s Network recognized this challenge when it fought for passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which Congress enacted June 27, 2023.

Thanks to this new legislation, there is hope for more inclusive and supportive work environments for expectant mothers. The PWFA recognizes their needs and ensures their right to reasonable accommodations.

By guaranteeing workplace adjustments such as light duty, additional and/or more flexible breaks, private space for lactation needs, allowing water at workstations and scheduling accommodations for medical appointments, the PWFA raises the bar for job protections for mothers.

Before the PWFA, there were no legal protections for workers who needed accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions in many states. Pregnant workers had to rely on the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) or the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for assistance, but both acts lacked accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and medical conditions.

Because of this, many women have been forced out of the workforce, putting them and their families in financial danger.

Although this is a big step forward for pregnant workers, the PWFA does not replace federal, state or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy or childbirth. More than 30 states and cities have laws that provide accommodations for pregnant workers.

What’s included in the PWFA

The PWFA provides several examples of reasonable accommodations, including the ability to sit or drink water, receive closer parking, have flexible hours, receive appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel, have adequate break time, take leave or time off to recover from childbirth, and be excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve exposure to compounds not safe for pregnancy.

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations unless doing so would cause an “undue hardship” on the employer’s operations that would result in significant difficulty or expense for the employer.

What the PWFA prohibits

The PWFA prohibits employers from requiring an employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion about the accommodation

between the worker and the employer; denying a job or other employment opportunities to a qualified employee or applicant based on the person’s need for a reasonable accommodation; requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would let the employee keep working; retaliation against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or interfering with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.

The PWFA is a valuable tool for working moms to use so they don’t have to choose between motherhood and a career.

Deliana can be reached at: 909-626-3333 ext. 226

Deliana services the following locations:

Dr. Spaulding Dr. Liu Dr. Thomas
Dr. Edelson-Rancho Cameron Dental