A new federal law related to pregnant workers goes into effect June 27, 2023. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act or PWFA applies to both public and private sector employers with at least 15 employees. The law requires employers to discuss, identify and provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. A “reasonable accommodation” is determined on a case by case basis, depending on the employee’s position and essential job functions; the cost to the employer; whether a labor agreement applies; among other considerations. Employers are not required to implement an accommodation that causes an “undue hardship.” However, notably, it is unlawful under the Act to require a qualified employee to take a paid or unpaid leave IF another reasonable accommodation can be made.
Employers should ensure their handbooks and policies include provisions addressing these legal requirements, including naming the person(s) who will work with pregnant workers to process their requests for accommodations. For more information see: https://www.eeoc.gov/