It’s time for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). We’ve been warning you that the PWFA is coming and in less than a week, on June 27, the PWFA goes into effect. We’re still waiting on the EEOC’s proposed regulations but that should not stop you from complying, because on June 27 employees may begin filing EEOC charges for events occurring on or after that day. For more information on how to comply, see our prior blog posts here and here.
Guidance from the EEOC and a New Poster
The EEOC is tasked with issuing regulations, guidance, and resources for compliance with the PWFA (and other workplace discrimination laws). As we said before, we are still waiting on the proposed regulations, but the EEOC has provided some guidance on the PWFA already. We blogged about it before, but you may access the EEOC’s guidance on the PWFA here.
Also, note that the EEOC issued a new “Know Your Rights” poster that you should download and post. Various versions of the new poster may be found here. Make sure you use the new version identified as “After June 27, 2023” on the EEOC’s website.
Public Comment Process
We are hopeful that the EEOC will issue proposed regulations for the PWFA by the end of the year. Once the EEOC issues the proposed regulations, the public will have some amount of time to provide its input before the regulations become final. The EEOC’s website notes that it will use a variety of methods to solicit and receive input on proposed enforcement guidance. One option is a public meeting to hear comments about the proposed regulations and could include a 15-day comment period after the hearing.
The EEOC will likely publish the proposed regulation on Regulations.gov for public comment. While the regulations are not law, courts generally give some deference to them so long as the regulations are reasonable. So, if you have a comment or see an issue with the proposed regulations, you should submit a comment to the Commission. We will continue to monitor and update you so that you can review and provide comment. Once the period for public comment closes, the regulations must be approved by a majority of the Commissioners.
Remember, even though the regulations have not been issued, the law is effective as of next week and you should comply with it. Additionally, although the PWFA applies only to accommodations, other laws such as Title VII, the ADA, the PUMP Act, and the FMLA have protections that may be available to pregnant employees. Also, if your state’s law is more protective than the PWFA, you should comply with that law as well.