Slowly but surely pregnant workers are gaining more workplace protections, but Congress still needs to act.
In recent months, several cities and states have passed measures to strengthen protections for pregnant workers. But the way in which these laws passed—with overwhelming, bipartisan support—may be almost as notable as what they will do.
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In the wake of similar protections recently passed in Philadelphia, Rep. Mark Painter has introduced HB 1892, dubbed the Pennsylvania Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, in the state house.
Del. Michael Folk introduced two amendments to the bill, one that would have expanded the definition of “person” to include a fetus, and another that would have included “the health of the unborn child” in the bill’s protections of pregnant women. The amendments were defeated before the bill passed the state house.
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Following the amendment of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, city employers are now required to provide “reasonable” workplace accommodations for pregnant employees, such as access to water and bathroom breaks.
When you’re pregnant, the last two things you want to have to worry about when you’re expecting a baby are your health and your income. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would help ensure that pregnant women are able to follow their doctor’s recommendations without worrying their bosses are going to squeeze them out of a job.
The legislation would address longstanding gaps of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which was enacted 35 years ago this month.
A new report issued by the National Women’s Law Center and A Better Balance shows that pregnancy discrimination remains a significant drag on the economy.