When President Biden, late last year, signed into law the 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill, it included two new laws, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protection for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act).
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
The PWFA goes into effect on June 27, 2023. This law requires employers with at least 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees and job applicants. Like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations unless doing so would create an undue hardship.
The PWFA adopts the ADA’s definitions of “reasonable accommodations” and “undue hardship” and the ADA’s interactive process approach to determine a reasonable accommodation.
Under the PWFA, employers cannot:
- Require an employee to accept an accommodation without a discussion about the accommodation between the employee and the employer (the interactive process);
- Deny a job or other employment opportunities to a qualified employee or applicant based on the person’s need for a reasonable accommodation;
- Require an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that would let the employee keep working;
- Retaliate against an individual for reporting or opposing unlawful discrimination under the PWFA or participating in a PWFA proceeding (such as an investigation); or
- Interfere with any individual’s rights under the PWFA.
Employers should review their current policies and practices to ensure compliance with the PWFA. This federal law aligns with many state laws that mandate accommodations for pregnant employees.
Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act
The PUMP Act was effective December 29, 2022 (and April 28, 2023, for changes to available remedies). This law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk for a nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time the employee has a need to express the milk. Additionally, the PUMP Act requires employers to provide a private place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the PUMP Act if compliance with the provision would impose an under hardship.
Employers should ensure that their policies and practices are in compliance with the PUMP Act.
As always, don’t hesitate to contact Stall Legal with any questions regarding the PWFA and the PUMP Act.