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EEOC Finalizes Regulations Implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced the release of its final regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), a landmark statute aimed at safeguarding the rights of pregnant workers. This regulation fills a significant gap in existing law and provides crucial protections to pregnant workers across the nation.


    Pregnancy discrimination has long been a pervasive issue in the workplace, with pregnant individuals often facing discrimination and insufficient accommodations, despite the myriad of physical and medical challenges they may encounter during this time. Prior to the PWFA, federal protections for pregnant workers were limited, leaving many vulnerable to adverse treatment and even job loss due to pregnancy-related limitations.

    The passage of the PWFA marked a significant milestone in addressing these disparities. Signed into law by President Joe Biden in December 2022, the PWFA aimed to bridge the gap in existing legislation by mandating “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant workers, ensuring they could maintain employment without compromising their health or safety. This legislation was a response to the growing recognition of the need for comprehensive protections for pregnant individuals in the workforce, particularly in light of the disproportionate risks faced by Black and Brown women.

    Key Provisions

    The final regulations issued by the EEOC provide detailed guidance on the implementation of the PWFA, outlining the responsibilities of both employers and employees in accommodating pregnancy-related limitations. These regulations offer clarity on several key provisions:

    1. Definition of Reasonable Accommodations: The regulations clarify that reasonable accommodations can range from minor adjustments, such as flexible start times or additional breaks, to more significant changes, including temporary reassignment or the suspension of certain job duties. By providing concrete examples of potential accommodations, employers and employees can better understand their rights and obligations under the PWFA.
    2. Interactive Process: The regulations emphasize the importance of engaging in an interactive process between employers and employees to determine appropriate accommodations. Employers are encouraged to communicate openly with pregnant workers to identify their needs and find solutions that meet both parties’ interests. This interactive process promotes collaboration and ensures that accommodations are tailored to individual circumstances.
    3. Undue Hardship Clarification: While employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations under the PWFA, they are not obligated to do so if it would cause an undue hardship on their business. The regulations provide guidance on what constitutes undue hardship, emphasizing that it must involve significant difficulty or expense. Employers must carefully assess each accommodation request and consider factors such as the nature of the accommodation, the size and resources of the business, and the potential impact on operations.
    4. Prohibition of Retaliation: The regulations reaffirm that employers cannot retaliate against employees for requesting accommodations or exercising their rights under the PWFA. Retaliation includes adverse actions such as termination, demotion, or harassment. Employers must ensure that pregnant workers feel comfortable requesting accommodations without fear of reprisal.
    Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

    What You Should Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act


    The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees or applicants with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The law went into effect on June 27, 2023, and the EEOC issued its final regulation on April 15, 2024.

    Who is Covered

    The PWFA applies to private employers, public sector employers, Congress, federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations with 15 or more employees.

    Prohibited Actions

    Covered employers must not fail to make reasonable accommodations, deny job opportunities based on the need for accommodation, or retaliate against employees for requesting accommodations under the PWFA.

    Other Applicable Laws

    In addition to the PWFA, workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions may be protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the PUMP Act.

    Important Terms and Provisions

    • Reasonable Accommodations: Changes in the work environment to accommodate limitations. Examples include flexible breaks, schedule adjustments, and temporary reassignments.
    • Undue Hardship: Significant difficulty or expense for the employer.
    • Qualified Employee or Applicant: One who can perform essential job functions with or without accommodations.
    • Known Limitation: A communicated physical or mental condition related to pregnancy.
    • Pregnancy, Childbirth, or Related Medical Conditions: Includes various conditions such as miscarriage, lactation, and postpartum depression.

    Requesting Accommodations

    Workers should inform their employer of their limitations and accommodation needs. Employers must engage in the interactive process promptly and may require documentation only when reasonable.


    Understanding the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and its provisions is essential for both employers and workers to ensure fair treatment and compliance with the law.

    For more detailed information on the PWFA and its regulations, visit the EEOC’s website.