"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

New law requires “adjustments” around pregnancy

June 27, 2023 – Millions of pregnant and postpartum staff can have the suitable to workplace “accommodations” under a federal law that took effect on June 27.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act states that employers with not less than 15 employees must provide “reasonable accommodations” to those that need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, or similar circumstances. It is enforced by Equal Opportunities Commission.

Before the brand new law, it was already illegal to fireplace or discriminate against an worker due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. More than 30 states and cities have laws requiring such accommodations.

The EEOC defines “reasonable accommodations” as changes to the work environment or the way in which things are normally done at work. These can include things like “the opportunity to sit or drink water; getting closer parking; having flexible work hours; getting appropriately sized uniforms and safety clothing; getting additional breaks to use the bathroom, eat, and rest; taking vacation or time off to recover from childbirth; and being excused from strenuous activities and/or activities that involve contact with substances that are not safe for pregnancy,” the EEOC says.

NBC News reported, citing the advocacy group National Partnership for Women and Families, that the brand new law could affect 2.8 million people annually.

The recent law is meant to particularly help pregnant women in low-paying, male-dominated professions, said Dina Bakst of the employees' rights organization “A Better Balance,” which has been campaigning for the law for years.

Mandatory access to the toilet and drink breaks “sound so obvious, but for women in retail and other low-wage industries with overly rigid, inflexible jobs, such relief can make a big difference,” she said.