On December 29, 2022, as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill, President Biden signed into law two pieces of legislation that will benefit pregnancy and nursing mothers – the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act). The new legislation expands protections for pregnant and nursing employees in the workplace, addressing the inadequacy of existing federal law regarding employer accommodation of work-related limitations experienced by employees during pregnancy and the need for privacy and break time during the workday for any lactating employee to express breastmilk following childbirth.
The PWFA expands upon concepts from the Americans with Disabilities Act, requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations and other protections to pregnant workers even in the absence of an underlying disability, and even where the employee’s inability to perform an essential job function is only temporary.
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act provides accommodations for all lactating employees, including not only hourly employees protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act, but salaried employees as well. The statute also expands the remedies available for lactating employees, but mandates a notice and cure period prior to an employee’s commencement of an action against an employer for failure to provide adequate space for breastfeeding.
For more information about these two pieces of legislation, please see our Alert.