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Fairness for Pregnant Workers: A Review of 2013

2013 was quite a year in the fight for fair treatment for pregnant workers! The issue of providing workplace accommodations for pregnant workers has gotten national attention in the media, and has helped to build momentum for progress on legislation at the federal, state and city level. In a national poll, over 90% of likely voters polled supported workplace protections for pregnant women.

In 2013, the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act gained 113 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and 20 cosponsors in the Senate. The bills, which are led by Rep. Nadler in the House of Representatives and Sens. Casey and Shaheen in the Senate, would make unmistakably clear that employers have a duty to accommodate pregnant workers who need minor job accommodations to continue safely working and providing for their families while maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Bills providing protections for pregnant workers were passed in Maryland and New York City.

In addition to these legislative gains, the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was included in the House of Representative’s Economic Agenda for Women and Families and the Fair Shot Campaign and pregnancy accommodations measures were included as a part of a broader women’s equality agenda in New York and Pennsylvania. And Wisconsin introduced a pregnancy accommodations bill with bipartisan support.

And the momentum continues! A pregnancy accommodations bill passed the New Jersey House and Senate nearly unanimously, and is waiting for the Governor’s signature. Advocates in other states are also exploring introducing pregnancy accommodations bills. And we hope and expect that in 2014, many more members of Congress will sign onto the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

A shout out to all of the advocates whose hard work led to these gains for pregnant workers. Let’s keep the drumbeat going in 2014. The best is yet to come!