Rep. Susan Davis Votes to Protect Pregnant Workers

f t # e
Washington, September 17, 2020 | comments

In an era when a rising number of women work later into their pregnancies to maintain their family’s financial security, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA-53) voted for critical bipartisan legislation to secure pregnant women’s rights to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694), of which Davis is cosponsor, passed in the House of Representatives on a strong bipartisan vote of 329-74.

“At a time when the COVID-19 crisis threatens many people’s economic stability, employers should not be justified in their denial of reasonable workplace accommodations to pregnant women,” said Rep. Davis, a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee. “Women make up 64 percent of frontline workers in the US and pregnant women could face increased risk to COVID-19. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act comes at a vital time, when protecting essential workers’ health and economic stability is more important than ever.”

Data shows that over one in five pregnant workers are employed in low-wage jobs, which are especially likely to be physically demanding positions. When pregnant women are forced to work in positions that require physically challenging work – prolonged standing, exposure to hazardous materials, heavy lifting, irregular or prolonged hours—they face an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm births.

Because Black and Latina women are disproportionately represented in low-wage, physically demanding jobs, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is especially important in bringing equitable accommodations to pregnant workers across the United States.

Current law under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans Disabilities Act provide some protections for pregnant workers but include no explicit and affirmative guarantees that all pregnant workers will have the continued right to reasonable accommodations. Today, only 30 states, Washington D.C., and four cities require employers to provide accommodations to pregnant workers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act introduces federal protections for pregnant women in the workplace by:

  • Requiring employers to provide reasonable adjustments for workers who need them due to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical hardships;

  • Establishing “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant women in the workplace such as comfortable seating, increased water breaks, appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel, and additional rest times;

  • Preventing employers from denying employment opportunities or forced paid and unpaid leave to pregnant women;

  • Providing pregnant women who are denied reasonable accommodations under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act the rights to lost pay, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney fees.

“Women should not be forced to choose between job security and a healthy pregnancy,” said Rep. Davis. “The House’s passing of the Pregnant Workers Fairness act is an indispensable step in providing vital federal protections to pregnant workers.”

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has the bipartisan support of Members of Congress and the strong endorsements of the business community, civil rights groups, and workers’ advocates.

f t # e

Stay Connected

Use the form below to sign up for my newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.

Office Locations