Employers with at least 15 employees need to be prepared for the upcoming Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) that is effective June 27, 2023. The PWFA requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an employee’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship”. This act is similar to the American Disabilities Act (ADA), but focuses on employees that have pregnancy, childbirth or other related conditions. The PWFA applies only to accommodations and not discrimination or termination as other existing laws the EEOC enforces are responsible.
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The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) was signed into law on December 29, 2022. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), most nursing employees have the right to reasonable break time and a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view to express breast milk while at work.
Most employees have the right to take reasonable break time to express breast milk for their nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth. An employer may not deny a covered employee a needed break to pump. The frequency and duration of breaks needed to express milk will likely vary depending on factors related to the nursing employee and the child.
Factors such as the location of the space and the steps reasonably necessary to express breast milk, such as pump setup, can also affect the duration of time an employee will need to express milk. Under the FLSA, a bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location for the employer to provide for pumping breast milk.
Since most employees are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the PUMP Act guidelines would apply. A few exceptions are made for small businesses.
The EEOC recently released Fiscal Year 2022 data on workplace discrimination charges and the number received by the EEOC increased by 19% over Fiscal Year 2021. The types of charges include discrimination on the basis of sex, retaliation, disability, race, national origin, age, religion and disability accommodation, in order of number of types of charges. Every year, these most frequently identified issues have been the same – they include harassment, hiring, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, and discharge. Texas has been listed in the top three states with the most charges filed since 2016.
Ways business owners can help assist employees and reduce workplace dissatisfaction include;