Washington, D.C. — This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694), a bill that aims to eliminate discrimination and promote economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for those whose ability to perform functions of their job are limited by pregnancy, childcare, and other related medical conditions.
For decades pregnant people have lost their much-needed jobs and health insurance after asking for reasonable health accommodations from their employers. Workplace discrimination based on pregnancy and related medical conditions disproportionality effects Black, Latinx, and immigrant pregnant workers and is directly linked to the Black Maternal Health crisis. Black women experience maternal mortality rates at three to four times higher than white women, which can be the result of taxing and inflexible work environments, like being asked to lift heavy items while pregnant or being unable to take appropriate time off for prenatal appointments and after labor.
Activists have worked hard on a local level to protect the rights and safety of pregnant workers. While a number of states including Kentucky, Colorado, New York, and the District of Columbia are considering adopting their own Pregnant Workers Fairness Acts, we must have a national law that enshrines these protections for pregnant workers.
No one should ever be forced to choose between a paycheck or a healthy pregnancy. NOW calls on the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and for the U.S. Senate to take up this long-overdue bill to protect workers from discrimination and ensure that pregnancy is not a punishment.