MRW Blog

New Federal Protections for Pregnant Workers!

MRW is thrilled that new federal protections for pregnant workers are now in effect as of June 27, 2023.  These protections, the PUMP Act (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act) and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), were part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that President Biden signed in December 2022. The PWFA affects employers with at least 15 employees while the PUMP Act affects employers of all sizes.

Generally speaking, PWFA requires workplace accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Although similar to the ADA (Americans with Disability Act), one key difference between the two statutes is that under the PWFA, the employer may have to restructure job duties to accommodate the employee.  Also, under the PWFA, in order to be entitled to accommodations, pregnant or postpartum employees and applicants are no longer required to (1) have a pregnancy-related disability or (2) identify other similarly situated employees with accommodations.

Covered employers will now be required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees and applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, unless the employer can prove that providing the accommodation would cause undue hardship on the business.

The PUMP Act requires employers to give nursing mothers adequate break time to pump breast milk and provide a private space (other than bathrooms) in order for mothers to do so.

While Massachusetts law already provides these protections, see G.L. c. 151B, §4(1E)(Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act) and G.L. c. 111, §221 (protecting the right to breastfeed in public places or establishments), these new federal laws provide an added layer of assurance that pregnant and nursing employees won’t face needless barriers to full participation in the workplace.

Posted: August 8, 2023 | Author: Messing, Rudavsky & Weliky, P.C. | Categories: news

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