Pregnant Woman

On April 15, 2024, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued its final rule and interpretive guidance to implement the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). It is scheduled to be published on April 19, 2024, and the regulation will go into effect 60 days thereafter (anticipated to be June 18, 2024). The final rule clarifies how pregnant and new mothers can request reasonable accommodations to enable them to continue with their current employment situations, while also providing guidance to employers on how to properly address such requests without violating the law.

Background on the new regulation

The PWFA was signed into law on December 29, 2022, and became effective on June 27, 2023. It requires covered employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to qualified employees and applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an "undue hardship." Covered employers include private employers with 15 or more employees; the provisions of the PWFA apply to employees and applicants.  On August 11, 2023, the EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for implementing the PWFA and invited public comment through October 10, 2023. Approximately 98,600 comments were submitted to the EEOC. The final rule summarizes the issues raised by the public comments and provides the EEOC's reasoning for adopting or rejecting various recommendations, it also provides examples of reasonable accommodations and ways employers can abide by the regulation.

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