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Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Reasonable Accommodation Examples in the Workplace

Monday, January 29, 2024
Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Reasonable Accommodation Examples in the Workplace

As of June 27, 2023, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) requires employers with a workforce of 15 or more to provide reasonable accommodation for an individual’s limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions unless it would cause undue hardship.

4 Default Reasonable Adjustments

The main goal of the PWFA is to help those affected by pregnancy to continue working by providing simple accommodations quickly. Because of this, in virtually all cases, a limited number of simple modifications are reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship when requested by an individual due to pregnancy. These include allowing the individual to:

  • Carry and drink water as needed;
  • Take additional restroom breaks;
  • Sit or stand where otherwise required; and
  • Take breaks to eat and drink as needed.

Other Accommodations

Other examples of potential accommodations under the PWFA include the following, along with any other change that would remove a workplace barrier and provide a particular requesting individual with equal opportunity:

  • Schedule changes, part-time work, and paid and unpaid leave;
  • Assignment to light duty or placement in a light duty program;
  • Job restructuring, such as by removing a marginal function of the job;
  • Temporary suspension of one or more essential functions;
  • Adjusting or modifying examinations or policies.

PWFA Accommodations

Undue Hardship

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations unless it would cause an undue hardship on their operations, which is defined as a significant difficulty or expense for the employer.

Predictable Assessments

Certain accommodations will virtually always be considered reasonable and not undue hardship, such as allowing a pregnant employee to take extra food, water and bathroom breaks and to sit or stand as needed.

Overlapping & Evolving Needs

An individual may need more than one type of accommodation at the same time or as a pregnancy progresses.

Temporary Inability

Absent undue hardship, employers must allow temporary suspension of essential job functions or removal of marginal functions as reasonable accommodations under the PWFA.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.