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Employment Law Alert – Expansion of Protections for Pregnant and Nursing Employees in the Workplace

January 5, 2023

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act (the PWFA), which will go into effect on June 29, 2023, and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, which took effect immediately. Both laws expand important workplace protections for pregnant employees and provides employees the ability to remain in the workplace during their pregnancy and aid in their return to work post-pregnancy.

The PWFA requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable, temporary accommodations to pregnant employees with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions so employees can perform the essential functions of their job during their pregnancy. Examples of reasonable and medically necessary workplace accommodations include providing additional bathroom breaks, lifting restrictions, permitting food and water at a workstation, providing a chair or stool to reduce an employee’s time on their feet, and a separate place to work to reduce exposure to COVID-19 or RSV.

Most importantly, the PWFA adopts the definition of “reasonable accommodations” from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which means employers must work with employees and engage in an interactive process with pregnant employees who request an accommodation. To read the full text of the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act, click here.

PUMP amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and requires employees with 50 or more employees to provide reasonable break time for all employees for pumping breast milk for a period of 2 years. Under PUMP, employers are required to provide a clean and private space for nursing mothers that is separate from a restroom facility, shielded from view, and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

PUMP also requires employers to compensate employees who take such breaks if the employee is working during the break or if they are not “completely relieved from duty” during the breaks. The enactment of PUMP extends federal laws pertaining to nursing mothers, which previously applied to only hourly employees, to now also include salaried employees exempt from overtime under the FLSA.

To read the full text of the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, click here.

If you have any questions about this Alert, we encourage you to contact your Shulman Rogers attorney for solutions and recommendations for addressing these issues.

MORE INFORMATION

The contents of this Alert are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact the Shulman Rogers attorney with whom you regularly work or a member of the Shulman Rogers Employment and Labor Law Group.

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