Friday, March 05, 2021

Finally--a pregnancy discrimination law that is clear.

Genuinely good news from the Times--federal pregnancy discrimination law may finally grow some teeth.

I loathe the national Chamber of Commerce, but they are on the right side of this one. 

In 2019, after Democrats took back the House, the bill finally received its first congressional hearing. In another breakthrough, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an often right-leaning group, threw its weight behind the PWFA, because the bill’s “end goal was something we could support,” explained Marc Freedman, vice president of employment policy at the organization. The lobbying group collaborated with the bill’s supporters to revise the legislation in an effort to win bipartisan support.

“The folks that we worked with on this bill are not folks that we are usually in agreement with,” said Mr. Freedman, but “giving pregnant women the ability to stay in a workplace is a good thing, and we wanted to find a way to get to that endpoint.”

The two sides found middle ground: creating a formalized negotiation process and clarifying definitions for particular terms, including “known limitations” stemming from pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions, that would remove ambiguity for both employees and employers.

Last September, the PWFA passed the House with an overwhelming 329 votes, including 103 Republicans. “I don’t think anybody had that number in their head,” Mr. Freedman said.

But the bill didn’t advance to the Senate — in part because of a contentious election season — and had to be reintroduced in the current legislative session, where it stands today.


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