The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act gives you the right to reasonable accommodations, or temporary changes at work, that are medically-necessary during or after pregnancy, like:
- extra breaks to drink water, eat, rest, or use the bathroom
- flexible scheduling to attend prenatal and postnatal appointments
- time off to recover from childbirth or miscarriage
- light duty, or help with manual labor and lifting
- temporary transfer to a less physically demanding or safer position
- limiting exposure to hazardous chemicals
- leave or time off to recover from childbirth, even if you don’t qualify for the FMLA
- leave or time off for bedrest, recovery from miscarriage, postpartum depression, mastitis, and other pregnancy-related health issues
- providing equipment such as a stool to sit on
- changing a uniform or dress code, like allowing wearing maternity pants
- changing a work schedule, like allowing shorter work hours or a later start time to accommodate morning sickness
- breaks, private space (not in a bathroom), and other accommodations for lactation needs, like adding a lock to a meeting room for private breast milk expression
- remote work
This is one of the largest wins for working women in decades, but it only helps people if they know about it.
Check out the Know Your Rights site from the non-profit A Better Balance to see all the ways that this new law can help you or your friends or colleagues who may be pregnant or recently became parents. They also have help for starting a conversation with your boss about these new protections like sample letters for requesting an accommodation and informing your employer about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
Even more, if you have questions about your workplace rights or if your employer denies your request, you can contact their free and confidential legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222).
Please help spread the word to your friends and networks, so women get the support they need in their workplace!