If you or someone you know needs changes at work for to pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, or other related conditions, a new nationwide law may help. Read on to learn more about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), and how to use it in order to stay healthy while earning a paycheck.
If your employer has 15 or more employees total, you have a right to receive changes to how, where, or when your job is done to protect your health and wellbeing when you are impacted by pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. This includes changes you need for:
- Pregnancy symptoms and pregnancy complications
- Miscarriage, pregnancy loss, and abortion
- Childbirth and recovery
- Postpartum depression
- Lactation (breastfeeding/chestfeeding)
To learn how to ask the changes you need, visit our guide “Talking to Your Boss About Your Bump,” a know-your-rights guide from the Center for WorkLife Law and A Better Balance (also available in Spanish/Español):
Many people need changes at work so they can work safely and protect their health and wellbeing during pregnancy or postpartum. These changes are called “accommodations.” The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” when they know an employee needs them because of pregnancy and related conditions.
Examples of common accommodations for pregnancy and related conditions include:
- Extra breaks for rest, snacks, water, and restroom use
- Uniform changes
- Changes to job duties or changes needed to avoid bending, lifting, climbing, walking, and/or standing (like permission to sit on a chair)
- Permission to eat or drink water more often while at work
- Schedule changes
- Working virtually
- Avoiding toxic chemicals or other hazards
- Time off for pregnancy-related doctor appointments
- Leave for pregnancy complications or childbirth recovery
- Lactation break time, space, and other needs (to learn more about breastfeeding, chestfeeding, and pumping at work, see our guides in English or Spanish/Español)
- Any other solution you and your employer can find that meets your health needs without being very difficult or expensive for your employer. Our Guide to Pregnancy Accommodations has ideas that may work for you.
Learn more about your rights and how to request the accommodations you need here:
Healthcare providers play a critical role in helping their patients get the accommodations they need at work for their health and wellbeing. Our ACOG-recommended guide gives healthcare providers the information they need to write effective work accommodation notes, including a model note:
Pumping at work?
Learn how to get lactation breaks, private space, and other changes you may need:
Questions about work and abortion or miscarriage?
Check out our frequently asked questions about your legal rights at work relating to abortion and pregnancy loss:
Want to learn more about the law?
Review our Pregnant Workers Fairness Act explainer, from WorkLife Law and the ACLU, for more details about the law: