Happy 2023! While we were wrapping up gifts and work last week, Congress passed an omnibus spending package. At $1.7 trillion and 4155 pages, it is a monster of a bill. Two separate laws were tucked in that protect pregnant workers and new mothers at work.
The Pregnant Workers Protection Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations for employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions unless undue hardship can be shown. If that sounds like the Americans with Disability Act to you, you are not wrong. Among other things, the Act prohibits:
- Mandating paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation can be made
- Taking adverse actions against an employee for requesting or using reasonable accommodations
- Bypassing the interactive process and forcing an employee to accept an accommodation
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act expands the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act from 2010, with certain accommodations for nursing mothers to express milk for up to two years after birth, up from one year. (Unchanged is employers with fewer than 50 employees do not have to comply if doing so would create an undue hardship). PUMP provides the following:
- Salaried employees and other types of workers are now included in the protections.
- Time spent expressing breast milk is considered hours worked if the employee is also working. If not, employees do not get paid for a pumping break unless otherwise mandated by federal or state law or local ordinance.
- Employers who do not comply receive a 10 day grace period after an employee puts them on notice.
With wide ranging support, President Biden is expected to sign this package very soon. Updating your handbook and training for 2023 would be a good idea. We can help.