Two sets of legislation are being reviewed that employers should be aware of. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and The Supporting Working Moms Act. Both pieces of legislation are positioned to support and protect the rights of pregnant women and new mothers in the workplace.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations for not only pregnant women while at work, but also job candidates, and employees experiencing issues related to childbirth. The bill would ensure a level of protection for pregnant women, or women with medical issues related to pregnancy. Specifically, employees would not be forced to accept an employer mandated accommodation if they are able to continue to work.
In addition, working mothers who need to breastfeed following the birth of their child will find with that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act provides additional support for private lactation accommodations in the workplace. Essentially, women will not be relegated to express milk in the bathroom.
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Lastly, The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act mandates that non-exempt employees be given a reasonable amount of time for breaks during the workday for breastfeeding.
More new legislation – the Supporting Working Moms Act – will expand protection beyond the Affordable Care Act to cover not only hourly, or non-exempt employees, but exempt employees as well. Approximately 12 million exempt, (salaried) women will be covered under the new act if it passes.
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