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Nadler Applauds EEOC Finalized Rule Implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act that Includes Abortion Related Accommodations


Finalized rule includes abortion in its definition of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” after Congressman Nadler led 82 House Democrats in a letter to the EEOC urging its inclusion


Rule also expands leave for prenatal appointments and recovery from childbirth as accommodations for millions who lack any right to time off under the FMLA

Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-12) issued the following statement in response to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) finalized rule implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA):


"I fought for years to get the PWFA across the finish line, and now, employers across our country have clarity on their responsibility to accommodate pregnant workers to ensure the PWFA fulfills its purpose of forming a workforce that supports pregnancy, childbirth, and other related conditions," said Congressman Nadler. "I'm particularly grateful the EEOC's interpretation of the law explicitly includes abortion in its definition of “pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” consistent with longstanding interpretation of the same phrase in Title VII. Finally, women will no longer be forced to choose between their health and their paycheck."


“The Democratic Women’s Caucus fought hard to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because no one should have to choose between her job and her pregnancy,” said DWC Chair Lois Frankel. “We are glad the Biden Administration and the EEOC issued these guidelines so workers know exactly what their rights are under this new law. No matter what, pregnant workers should be able to access the accommodations they need—including time off to manage miscarriages and get abortion care.”


"This is a major step forward for the reproductive freedom and fair treatment of pregnant workers across the country, whatever the outcome of their pregnancy," said Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Diana DeGette (CO-01) and Barbara Lee (CA-12). "No workplace has the right to discriminate against their employee for obtaining an abortion. Across the country, many pregnant workers are already grappling with the chaos and confusion of accessing abortion care in post-Dobbs America, without having to worry about threats to their employment or hostility in their work environment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was right to include abortion explicitly in its final regulation as they move to implement critical protections for pregnant workers, and the Pro-Choice Caucus is proud to fight alongside the EEOC and the entire Biden Administration to protect the rights and safety of every abortion patient."


“Today’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announcement is a major win for pregnant workers and families across the country,” said Rep. Judy Chu. “Since its enactment in June last year, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has become a critical lifeline for thousands of pregnant workers, and today’s final regulations provide essential clarity about their right to access to reasonable, life-saving accommodations at work. This law is a critical solution in addressing our nation’s maternal health crisis, and I’m especially thrilled that these final regulations protect access to unpaid leave in cases of miscarriage, stillbirth, and getting an abortion. With today’s announcement, pregnant workers will finally have the peace of mind that they can stay on the job, provide for their families, and get the accommodations they need to maintain their health and the health of their pregnancy.”

A Better Balance Co-President Dina Bakst said, “We applaud the EEOC for issuing robust final regulations that appropriately recognize the broad scope of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and ensure millions of workers, especially women in low-wage and physically-demanding jobs, can access the vital accommodations they need during pregnancy and after childbirth, to protect their health and keep their jobs. We are especially pleased to see leave for prenatal appointments and recovery from childbirth appropriately recognized as reasonable accommodations, benefiting millions of workers who currently lack any right to job-protected time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Today with these final rules, we have achieved a huge step forward for women’s economic security, maternal health, and the economy as a whole. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a life-changing protection for pregnant and postpartum workers nationwide, ensuring they aren’t forced off the job or denied the accommodations they need for their health. A Better Balance spent a decade making the legal case for the PWFA, grounded in the lived experience of thousands of workers nationwide, and are so pleased to see the EEOC has heeded our call for strong regulations to best protect them. Robust enforcement of this groundbreaking civil rights law will ensure workers with limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth, or other related conditions can fully rely on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’s protections, and have vital clarity as to how the law operates in practice, delivering long overdue dignity, fairness, and equality under the law. 

We look forward to continuing to empower workers around the country to use their rights under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and to work with the EEOC to ensure strong enforcement.” 

Vania Leveille, Senior Legislative Counsel, Liberty Division, American Civil Liberties Union, said, “We applaud the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for providing important guidance to workers, employers, and the courts so that the full force of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act can be given effect. We thank Representative Jerry Nadler for his leadership in getting this law across the finish line and for reiterating his support before the EEOC. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, and the EEOC's regulations implementing it, are a critical step to protect the health and well-being of pregnant workers, particularly those from marginalized communities who are often overlooked."

Jocelyn C. Frye, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said, "This is an important moment for pregnant workers, those with pregnancy difficulties or complications, and those who are considering having a baby. These workers can now rest assured that the EEOC will uphold their rights in the workplace, whether they need a break for water or to use the bathroom while on the clock, to adjust their working hours or some other accommodation. These rules further strengthen these protections for millions of workers, in spite of recent extreme partisan attempts to overturn this bipartisan law.

Emily Martin, Chief Program Officer at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) said, “We applaud the EEOC for issuing strong regulations to implement the groundbreaking Pregnant Workers Fairness Act These regulations will help ensure that pregnant workers have meaningful access to accommodations and employers can no longer use pregnancy as an excuse to push workers out of their jobs. These regulations will help ensure that no one has to choose between their jobs and their health or the health of their pregnancies. We are also gratified that despite attempts by anti-abortion extremists to play politics with our lives, the EEOC remained true to the law and followed long-standing precedent that prohibits discrimination against workers who decide to have an abortion. This comprehensive rule will help pregnant workers maintain their health and economic security at a time when they face escalating attacks on their rights.”   

Read the finalized rule here.



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