Henriott Logo

Understanding the Impact of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act on Companies and Their Employees

Henriott delves into the impact of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act on companies and their employees, discussing its provisions, implications, and the need for proactive compliance.

We recognize the importance of staying well-informed about constantly changing benefit regulations. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) went into effect on June 27, 2023, and represents a pivotal step towards safeguarding employee rights before, during and after pregnancy. In this blog, we review the key aspects of the PWFA and its potential effects on both employers and employees.

  1. Comprehending the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: The PWFA is a new law that requires employers with fifteen or more employees to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant, postpartum, or lactating employees. The PWFA focuses specifically on accommodations and does not replace existing laws prohibiting discrimination based on pregnancy.
  2. Providing Reasonable Accommodations: “Reasonable accommodations” refer to modifications in the work environment or standard work practices that enable pregnant employees to perform their duties comfortably and safely. As an employer, adhering to the PWFA entails providing accommodations such as ability to sit, access to water, flexible working hours, appropriately sized uniforms, and additional break time for personal needs. However, it is essential to evaluate these accommodations on a case-by-case basis, considering the potential impact on the employer’s operations. An “undue hardship”, defined as significant difficulty or expense, may justify limitations in providing certain accommodations.
  3. Who is protected: The PWFA extends its protection to employees and job applicants of “covered employers,” with fifteen or more employees. The act applies to employees of Congress, Federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
  4. Coexisting with Other Federal Laws: The PWFA does not replace other federal laws that also apply to pregnant employees. These include Title VII, which prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy and related conditions, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protects employees from discrimination based on disabilities. Moreover, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the PUMP Act continue to provide additional protections.
  5. Complying with PWFA: Employers should review existing accommodation policies and revise them as necessary. Human Resources and Management should be trained in how to address accommodation requests. This can help avoid fines and potential lawsuits and ensure that employees are productive and comfortable in the workplace. The PWFA also requires covered employers to post a notice describing the law’s protections. 

Employers can read more about the act on the EEOC’s What You Should Know About the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-pregnant-workers-fairness-act

At Henriott, we understand the complexities of compliance and we are ready to assist you with any questions regarding the PWFA.

About Henriott Group

Henriott is an independent Risk Management firm dedicated to helping clients prevent, manage, and recover from critical incidents. Working in both public and private entities through effective risk management, risk financing, commercial insurance, employee benefits, human resources, crisis management, contingency planning, and crisis response.


Jen Hannen, Employee Benefits (765) 429-5006 | jhannen@henriott.com
Grace Pritchett, Communications (765) 838-8610 | gpritchett@henriott.com



More From Henriott Hub