New Report Shows Millions Would Benefit From Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
Senate passage would impact close to 3 million pregnant people who need protections at work
November 1, 2022
On the 44th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), the National Partnership for Women & Families published a new report today on the number of people working while pregnant in the U.S. each year. The data show that almost 3 million pregnant workers would benefit from passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) — legislation advocates are urging a Senate vote on, regardless of election outcomes.
While the PDA's protections have been critical to ensure women are not fired simply for being pregnant, the PWFA would ensure that pregnant workers have the basic accommodations they need to have a healthy pregnancy and provide for themselves and their families. The legislation passed in the House earlier this year with strong bipartisan support and is poised to pass in the Senate — with more than the 60 votes needed — if given the chance.
The new report finds that pregnant workers are in urgent need of the PWFA to protect the economic security and health of their family, and highlights those impacted:
• Nearly 3 million women work while pregnant each year. Without a national law, many of those women are forced to make the impossible choice of a safe and healthy pregnancy and keeping their jobs because their employers don’t provide basic accommodations, like being able to sit instead of stand.
• In addition to there being no national law, 20 states across the U.S. lack any statewide laws that guarantee pregnant workers a right to reasonable pregnancy accommodations.
• There are 1 million pregnant workers each year living in states without pregnancy accommodations laws.
• Nearly half of Native American and Alaska Native pregnant workers, four in ten Black pregnant workers, nearly one quarter of Latina pregnant workers and nearly one in five Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander pregnant workers live in states without statewide pregnancy accommodations laws.
“It is increasingly clear that current laws are failing pregnant workers when it comes to accessing the accommodations they need to stay on the job and healthy and return to work after their pregnancy. From Walmart workers being denied access to the same accommodations workers injured on the job receive, to the recent case of a pregnant diabetic Walgreens employee being forced to quit hours before she miscarried. On top of the lack of adequate protections for pregnant workers, states across the country are further restricting access to abortion. After a decade of organizing and advocacy, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is closer than ever to becoming law,” said Sharita Gruberg, vice president for economic justice at the National Partnership for Women & Families. “It is a workers’ rights, civil rights, maternal health, women’s rights, and reproductive justice win.”
“The time is now,” said Lelaine Bigelow, vice president for social impact and congressional relations at the National Partnership. “If we don’t pass the PWFA now, all of our progress will be lost and pregnant people will need to start over with a new Congress while their economic security and health suffers. ”