U.S. House Poised To Pass Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The U.S. House soon expected to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065). The bill is co-sponsored in the House by 208 Democrats and 20 Republicans.

If it becomes law, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would apply to all public employers and private employers with 15 or more employees.

These employers would be required to provide reasonable accommodations to any employee or job applicant who might need an accommodation due to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

Under the new law, employers would be prohibited from requiring employees to take leave (paid or unpaid) instead of being provided with an accommodation.

Employers would only be excused from providing an accommodation if they can establish that doing so would impose an undue hardship (as defined by law).

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would also prohibit employers from refusing to hire or otherwise denying opportunities to any individuals because they may need a pregnancy or childbirth related accommodation.

For businesses that operate in jurisdictions with more rigorous state and local employment laws – the provisions of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act may sound familiar as many states and localities have already enacted similar statutes.

The level of support for the bill in the Senate is not entirely clear. However, a Senate version of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was recently introduced by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tina Smith (D-MN), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

Assuming that Senators Cassidy, Capito and Murkowski support the House version of the bill and no Democrats defect, the bill is already close to having the votes it would need for passage in the Senate. President Biden supports the bill.

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