January 25, 2024

The PWFA and PUMP Act Celebrate One Year Anniversary

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) mark their one-year anniversary.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) requires covered employers (i.e., those with 15 or more employees) to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an “undue hardship.” The PWFA applies only to accommodations. Existing laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (e.g., Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act) make it illegal to fire or otherwise discriminate against workers on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Accommodations under the PWFA can be as simple as more frequent bathroom breaks or modifications to no-food policies. The law protects part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers as well as full-time employees in all industries.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections, as extended by the PUMP Act, requires employers to provide reasonable break time for a nursing employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time the employee needs to express breast milk. Employers must provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by the employee to express breast milk.

Neither the PWFA nor the PUMP Act replace federal, state, or local laws that are more protective of workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

At the APMA Forum’s H-2A Updates Roundtable on Jan. 24th, Ruben Lugo from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division emphasized that PUMP Act compliance is now a focus in their agricultural workplace investigations.

Employer resources on PWFA and the PUMP Act compliance include: