The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) became effective on June 27, 2023. Under the PWFA, covered employers must provide qualified employees with reasonable accommodations for their known limitations associated with pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless the accommodation would cause the employer undue hardship. The PWFA amended the Americans with Disabilities Act and only applies to accommodations; existing laws already make it illegal to discriminate based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
The PWFA does not replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of workers impacted by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
In general, a qualified employee under the PFWA is an employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position. The PFWA applies to “covered employers,” which includes private- and public-sector employers with at least 15 employees, federal and employment agencies, and labor organizations. Examples of violations of the PWFA include the following:
Employers should review their accommodation policies to ensure they meet the law’s requirements. Two key terms to know include “reasonable accommodation,” which is an adjustment or modification to a job, work environment or how things are typically done at work; and “undue hardship,” which refers to an accommodation that creates a significant difficulty or expense for an employer. Examples of reasonable accommodations include allowing the worker the opportunity to:
An employer’s failure to comply with the requirements of the PWFA can result in significant fines and lawsuits, as well as a work environment that does not meet the needs of its employees.
To learn more about the PWFA and additional risk management and insurance guidance, contact an RMC Group Risk Manager today at 239-298-8210.
© 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.