We all agree that pregnant women deserve the same treatment that all other workers receive. In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), which bars discriminatory treatment against women who become pregnant. Unfortunately, due to the law’s outdated and ambiguous language, it is not clear what accommodations employers need to make in order to ensure that pregnant workers are protected and treated fairly.
Thankfully, this confusion can be cleared up with a simple fix.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act (PDAA), sponsored by Representatives Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), would clarify and modernize the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act. If enacted, the PDAA would require employers to treat pregnant workers the same as any other employees in similar working conditions.
However, an alternative proposal being considered in Congress, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, would introduce a new statute that would create new requirements for how employers accommodate pregnant women and penalize those who fail to meet these new standards. This may sound nice, but the truth is that the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would make pregnant women (or women in their childbearing years) seem like potential liabilities, which can discourage employers from hiring or promoting women.
We can ensure that pregnant women receive fair treatment in the workplace without creating new laws or limiting women's economic opportunities.
Unlike the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act would not create any new laws or regulations and instead make a needed change to an existing statute. This was one of the many recommendations made by IWV’s sister organization, Independent Women’s Forum, in the Working for Women Report, an agenda for improving women’s lives.
To learn more, check out IWV’s Fact Sheet on the Pregnancy Discrimintion Amendment Act: