NETWORK Supports the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
March 18, 2021
In February, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers officially re-introduced The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act into the 117th Congress. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) was first introduced in 2012 and has been re-introduced in the House in almost every legislative session. NETWORK has previously supported the legislation, but Senator Mitch McConnell’s Senate failed to do their moral duty to protect mothers by not taking up the legislation. Once again, we are proud to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because it modernizes current law and closes the gaps in protections afforded to pregnant workers. This legislation would open doors for gainfully employed women who choose to bring new life into the world.
Despite current protections for pregnant workers from workplace discrimination included in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), 2 out of 3 women who fight to get pregnancy accommodation lose their case in court. Pregnant workers should not have to choose between their income or their family’s health. However, the failure of current legislation has forced many women to choose and this moral failure is only exacerbated by the global pandemic and accompanying economic recession.
The time is long overdue for pregnant workers to get reasonable accommodations, such as extra bathroom breaks, limited contact with certain chemicals, and a reduction in lifting requirements. Catholic Social Teaching clearly states that, “human work has a special dignity and is a key to achieving justice in society.” Now is the time for Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and recognize the dignity of labor.