We know our Mama’s are *working* it – they deserve protections while they do it!
Happy Mother’s Day – this month on the blog we are celebrating the mamas in our lives and highlighting the need for our working mamas to have protections while they, well, work it.
No one should have to choose between their health and a job. We know that, but the reality is we ask pregnant people across the country to make that choice every single day. More than 40 years after the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, pregnant people continue to be denied reasonable accommodations by their employers.
While most pregnant workers can expect a routine pregnancy and healthy birth, some pregnant people must make adjustments in their work activities to sustain a healthy pregnancy. These reasonable and medically necessary workplace accommodations can include simple things like allowing an additional bathroom break, having a glass of water at their work station, lifting restrictions, or a stool to decrease time spent standing. During COVID-19, where the risk of COVID-19 infection for pregnant people is 70 percent higher than similarly aged adults, an accommodation might simply be working in the non-COVID wing of a hospital or additional Personal Protective Equipment.
Unfortunately, too many pregnant workers, particularly pregnant workers of color and workers with low wages, face barriers to incorporating even these small changes in their workdays. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would help address these inequities by requiring employers to provide reasonable, temporary workplace accommodations to pregnant workers as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
Working parents deserve protections and shouldn’t be forced to choose between their health and their livelihoods. Ever. Unfortunately, the reality is too many are. Take Erica Hayes, who was 23 in the second trimester of her first pregnancy, and was required to lift heavy boxes during the course of her job. Despite repeatedly asking her employer to let her work with lighter boxes she was denied. After an eight–hour shift of heavy lifting in January 2014, she miscarried. And Erica is not alone – three other women at her place of employment lost their pregnancies, despite multiple requests for accommodations during the course of their pregnancies.
Enough is enough.
PRH IS *WORKING* IT.
It’s time for pregnant workers to have the protections they deserve. PRH has been loud and proud in our support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, organizing provider sign-on letters, submitting testimony for the record, and visiting lawmakers to remind them that they must pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act into law.
Want to Work It with Us?
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has a real shot of being passed into law this Congress, but we have to keep up the pressure. Call or Write or tweet at your Members of Congress and tell them to Support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act!
By: Anita Brakman, Senior Director, Education, Research & Training and MiQuel Davies, Assistant Director of Policy