Today, Legal Voice joined bill sponsors Rep. Jessyn Farrell, Sen. Karen Keiser, and allied organizations to introduce the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which would guarantee that no woman has to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck. Too often, pregnant women are still forced to take unpaid leave or are fired because of a pregnancy, when slight modifications would enable them to safely continue working. The bills (HB 2307 & SB 6149) would require that employers provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers in Washington State.
“Reasonable accommodation” is a term already familiar to employers and refers to a minor modification to a job to help workers keep working. For pregnant workers, such modifications could include providing restroom breaks, modifying food and drink policies, or providing temporary transfers to a less strenuous position.
Legal Voice attorney Janet Chung stated that the proposed new rules are “clear and predictable,” and added, “Currently, workers with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation, without having to show how other employees are treated. Pregnant workers deserve the same clarity.”
Currently, 91% of Americans support protections for pregnant workers, and at least 17 other states have similar pregnant worker protection laws. Legal Voice is proud to be a lead organization supporting the PWFA. Over 20 other organizations, including health care providers, women’s health advocates, and labor groups, have also signed on to support this legislation.
– Bill information: HB 2307 and SB 6149
– Advocates Call for State Laws Protecting Pregnant Workers and Improving Access to Birth Control, The Stranger 12/16/15