President Obama Endorses Casey Bill to Protect Pregnant Women from Discrimination in the Workplace

First Introduced in 2012, Casey’s Bill Would Require Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Workers, Protect Pregnant Workers from Retribution in Workplace / ¾ Of Women Entering Workforce Will Be Pregnant and Employed at Some Point / 65% of Pregnant Women, New Moms in PA Are in Labor Force

President Obama Endorses Casey Bill to Protect Pregnant Women from Discrimination in the Workplace

Washington, DC- At today’s White House Summit on Working Families, President Obama endorsed U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The bill, which was first introduced in 2012, would protect pregnant women from discrimination in the workplace. Specifically the bill would require employers to make reasonable accommodations, like using a stool while working at a cash register or carrying a bottle of water, for pregnant women. The legislation also protects women from retribution when asking for these reasonable accommodations.

“I’m pleased that President Obama has endorsed this commonsense legislation to ensure that pregnant women receive basic accommodations in the workplace,” Senator Casey said. “At today’s Working Families Summit, President Obama has announced a series of concrete steps that will give more American families a fair shot.  I’m committed to continuing to build support for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and getting it passed.”

Today, women make up nearly half of the labor force, and three-quarters of women entering the workforce will be pregnant and employed at some point in their careers. In Pennsylvania, approximately 96,000 women in the work force give birth each year, representing 65 percent of all births in the state.

Currently, pregnant working women around the country are being denied simple adjustments – permission to use a stool while working a cash register, or to carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated, or temporary reassignment to lighter duty tasks – that would keep them working and supporting their families while maintaining healthy pregnancies. The legislation will close legal loopholes and ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly on the job.

Some states have passed laws like the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to ensure that pregnant workers have on-the-job protections, but millions of women are vulnerable to this type of workplace discrimination.

Statistics on Pregnant Workers

Percentage of workers who give birth per year

State

As a share of employed women of childbearing age

As a share of all employed people

United States

4.7%

1.6%

Pennsylvania

4.5%

1.5%

2009-2011 averages based on data from the American Community Survey

Women 16 to 50 years old who gave birth in a 12-month period and were in the labor force

State

Total number of women who gave birth in the past 12 months

Total number of women who gave birth in the past 12 months who were in the labor force

Percentage of pregnant women and new moms who were in the labor force

United States

4,216,387

2,600,379

62%

Pennsylvania

148,298

96,729

65%

2011 data from the American Community Survey

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