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The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and Protections for Nursing Mothers

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Recently signed into law and scheduled to take effect in June 27, 2023 is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). Also, part of the federal omnibus spending bill, is the expansion of protections to the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers (PUMP Act).

Understanding the PWFA:
Employers with 15 or more employees will be required to comply with the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The PWFA is a federal law governed by the EEOC prohibiting workplace discrimination against pregnant employees and job applicants by requiring reasonable accommodations for temporary physical or mental limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions.

Key Provisions of the PWFA:

  1. Prohibition of Discrimination: The PWFA prohibits employers from discriminating against pregnant workers based on their pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It ensures that pregnant employees are treated fairly and equally in all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotions, pay, and benefits.
  2. Reasonable Accommodations: Under the PWFA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees who need them. These accommodations may include adjustments to work hours, modified job duties, access to ergonomic equipment, or temporary transfers to less physically demanding roles.
  3. Interactive Process: The PWFA promotes an interactive process between employers and pregnant employees to determine suitable accommodations. Employers are encouraged to engage in a dialogue with employees, assess their specific requirements, and find practical solutions that balance business needs and employee well-being.
  4. Protection Against Retaliation: The PWFA safeguards pregnant employees from retaliation for asserting their rights or requesting reasonable accommodations. Employers are prohibited from taking adverse actions, such as termination or demotion, in response to an employee’s exercise of their rights under the act.

The PUMP Act was amended to include additional coverage for exempt employees. The PUMP Act  allows nursing employees to reasonable break time and space to express breast milk at work. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the FLSA break time and space if doing so would impose an undo hardship.

Key Provisions to the PUMP Act:

  1. Employees may express breast milk for one year after the child’s birth.
  2. Employers may not deny or limit needed time to express breast milk.
  3. Employers must provide a place other than a bathroom that is shielded from view and free from disruptions.
  4. Employees that work remotely must be free from observation by employer provided video, web and camera equipment.
  5. If a non-exempt employee is interrupted or continues to work during the break, they must be paid for the entire break.
  6. Exempt employees must receive their full weekly salary.

 

For more information provided by the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division click the link below.

https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/fab/2023-2.pdf

As always, your team at Lyons HR is ready to help your business with any concerns or questions, or to help you establish a plan for compliance. Reach out to your HR Manager for more information or to schedule a meeting.

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