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HomeLatest NewsPregnant Workers Fairness Act updates include controversial abortion accommodations.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act updates include controversial abortion accommodations.

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The finalized federal regulations published on Monday under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act ensure that workers are entitled to time off and accommodations for abortions, along with other pregnancy-related medical conditions. The guidance provided in the regulations clarifies the law that passed with bipartisan support in December 2022. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s decision to include abortions in the final rules sparked controversy, but the agency maintains that it aligns with existing interpretations of Title VII and court rulings.

The regulations, effective from June 18, mandate that most employers with 15 or more employees must provide reasonable accommodations for workers experiencing limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical conditions. Labor advocates and major business groups alike support the law, emphasizing the importance of protecting pregnant workers’ health. While Republican lawmakers and anti-abortion activists criticized the inclusion of abortion provisions, advocates for women’s rights viewed it as a significant step given the curtailment of abortion rights in several states following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act bridges a gap in protections for pregnant workers by ensuring they receive necessary accommodations to continue working safely. By placing the burden on employers to prove undue hardship when denying modification requests, the law enhances workplace protections for pregnant individuals. The EEOC’s final rules provide extensive details on the types of accommodations available to pregnant workers, addressing issues ranging from temporary job duty exemptions to considerations for morning sickness. The law’s enactment represents a significant advancement in safeguarding the rights and well-being of pregnant workers in the workforce.

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