Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Released for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking around the implementation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The proposed rule, released for inspection August 7, 2023, aims to provide some needed clarification for employees and employers as they navigate the requirements under PWFA.

As background, PWFA requires covered employers to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to an employee’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition, unless such accommodation would create an undue hardship for the employer. Employees impacted by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition are protected from termination or discrimination under other existing legislation (e.g., ADA, Title VII) as protections under PWFA are specific to the accommodation that is requested. PWFA sets out to fill the gaps within already existing legislation by not limiting the availability of accommodations only to those that can show a pregnancy-related disability or in situations in which an employee is denied an accommodation when one was afforded to a similarly situated individual previously. Further, PWFA recognizes that uncomplicated pregnancies may also create limitations for employees and therefore extends the protections under this legislation to those individuals as well.

The proposed rule expands upon the definitions set forth by PWFA by clarifying terms such as “known” and “limitation” to assist an employer when approving or denying an accommodation request or in the event a claim under this law is brought forth against the employer. Additionally, the proposed rule provides supplemental provisions and specific examples of what a reasonable accommodation or an undue hardship may look like in an effort to ensure voluntary compliance with the regulation.  

The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 11, 2023, for public comment. Members of the public wishing to comment on proposed rule will have 60 days from the date of publication to do so.

Employers should continue to comply with the requirements under PWFA while the proposed rule is undergoing review and finalization. For additional information on PWFA, please see our previous blog post here. Additionally, the proposed rule can be found here.

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