Update on Federal Pregnant Works Fairness Act

By May 3, 2024 Compliance

Article courtesy of  Practice Compliance Solutions (“PCS”)

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was signed into law by President Biden in December 2022, and the law went into effect in June 2023.  The law requires all employers to provide reasonable accommodation to all employees for pregnancy and related complications as long as the accommodations do not pose an undue hardship on the business.  The law requires employers to have a “meaningful” discussion with workers requiring such accommodations prior to making any decision regarding undue hardship.

Examples of reasonable accommodations were noted as telework, increased food or restroom breaks, temporary assignments, time off for healthcare appointments, and time to recover from childbirth or complications of childbirth, including miscarriage.

PCS has a summary of the law on the website (https://practicecompliancesolutions.com/pregnant-workers-fairness-act), and more information can be found on the EEOC website (https://www.eeoc.gov/pregnant-workers-fairness-act).

The law instructed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to issue final rules on the Act by December 29, 2023.  The rules were not finalized until April 3, 2024.  Despite a bipartisan agreement that the accommodations did not extend to abortion, the EEOC included abortion and abortion-related complications in the final rule.  The rules also included very complex guidelines for employers who claim a religious exemption to the rule related to the abortion issue.  The State of Texas sued Congress, stating the law was passed without a constitutionally required quorum.  The lower court agreed and granted a stay, stopping implementation of the law in the State of Texas.  The suit is now being challenged in Federal court.  At this time, the law is not in effect in Texas.

All employers should be aware of this law, which provides employees easy access to discrimination claims if the law is not followed.  The EEOC began accepting discrimination claims on June 27, 2023.  If you have specific questions about this law, contact PCS at info@practicecompliancesolutions.com .