Two new employment laws were included in the federal omnibus spending bill which expanded workplace rights for employees affected by conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.
President Joe Biden signed into law the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). These new laws take effect June of 2023.
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)
The PWFA requires companies with 15 or more employees to provide accommodation for employees undergoing pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
The employer and employee must go through an interactive process to discuss and identify reasonable accommodations. Under this new law, employers cannot force accommodation unless it has been discussed and agreed upon with the employee beforehand. Employers also cannot demand an employee take paid or unpaid leave.
Here are some reasonable accommodations to discuss with employees that qualify for the PWFA:
- Reduce lifting requirements
- Additional bathroom breaks
- Offer flexible work options
- Accommodate time off for appointments
It is important to communicate and determine a plan for any employee that is pregnant so that they feel comfortable and supported in the workplace.
Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act)
The PUMP Act requires employers to provide a break time for workers currently nursing. These break times will allow an employee to pump breast milk when needed, until one year after the child’s birth.
The PUMP Act also states that employers must provide a location, other than a bathroom, where an employee can privately pump without disruptions or intrusions.
Do these breaks need to be paid?
If a nonexempt employee continues to work during their break or is interrupted, then they must be paid for the entire break. Exempt employees will continue to receive their normal salary, regardless of any breaks they may have taken.
It is important to note that companies with fewer than 50 employees are not legally obligated to follow the PUMP Act if it causes undue hardship to the employer.
Employers may already have policies for pregnant or nursing employees, but it is important to ensure your current policies are compliant with federal laws. Reviewing these laws will help you make sure your company is not violating any personal rights.
If you have any questions regarding these new federal laws, reach out to our HR experts at email@example.com.