As you’ve probably heard, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) went into effect late last month. The EEOC has since released PWFA guidance to help companies comply with the new law until it issues compliance regs.
What you need to know about the new law
The new law is narrow, focusing on accommodations. It requires employers with 15 or more employees to engage in the interactive process with covered employees and make reasonable
accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions — as long as the accommodations do not pose an undue hardship on the employer.
In the legislation, Congress directed the EEOC to release compliance regulations within two years.
At some point, the EEOC will issue a proposed version of PWFA regs and open it up for comments to allow the public to offer comments before the regs become final.
In the meantime, the EEOC has issued the following PWFA guidance, which is especially helpful because there is no grace period. The EEOC started accepting PWFA charges on June 27.
PWFA guidance: 3 new tools for employers
This infographic for employers:
- Outlines employer obligations under the PWFA
- Provides relevant statistics about pregnant employees, and
- Includes examples of potential accommodations under the PWFA.
This informational poster:
- Defines relevant legal terms, such as “reasonable accommodations” and “undue hardship,” found in the PWFA
- Provides additional examples of potential accommodations under the PWFA, and
- Includes a list of other federal laws that may apply to pregnant workers.
3. Notice for employees
This infographic for employees:
- Notifies covered employees of their right to seek accommodations if necessary
- Provides a three-step plan to help employees discuss accommodation needs with employers, and
- Offers advice on what to do if the employer declines an accommodation request.
What should you do NEXT?
To ensure compliance with this new law, employers should immediately consider the following:
- Revising their policies/procedures and employee handbooks to reflect the new protections under PWFA and to establish a process by which pregnant workers can seek accommodations.
- Advising and training human resource employees and managers to recognize these new rights and respond appropriately to employees seeking accommodations.
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