Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) as part of the year-end funding package. The amendment to the omnibus—offered by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)—passed by a vote of 73-24.
“No one should have to choose between their job and a healthy pregnancy, and now—finally—they won’t.
“For far too long, too many workers excited about welcoming a new baby had to worry about losing their jobs—all because their employers could deny them basic, low-cost accommodations like a bathroom break or a stool to sit on. But now the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act will finally close gaps in our federal law to ensure pregnant workers can stay on the job with the reasonable accommodations they need. This is a hard-fought victory for working parents, and I’m incredibly grateful for Senator Casey and Senator Cassidy’s tireless leadership to get this done. There’s still a lot of work ahead to build an economy that truly works for working moms—but the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a big and important step forward.”
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which is closely modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), would require employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow pregnant workers to continue working safely, such as additional bathroom breaks, light duty, or a stool to sit on if a worker stands all day. The bill includes protections not already codified in the ADA or the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA).
The legislation is led by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Senator Murray cleared it in the HELP Committee in 2021 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.