Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act advances to Senate floor

US Bishops endorse PWFA

On August 3, in a bipartisan 19-2 Health, Employment and Labor Committee vote, the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (PWFA) was sent to the floor of the US Senate. On August 9, the US Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life, and Defense of Marriage sent an unusual joint letter of support to Congress urging passage of PWFA.

Too often, women workers must choose between the demands of their jobs and the health of their unborn babies. The Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant women in the workplace – for instance, assigning light duty to women in later stages of pregnancy if available. It’s a commonsense pro-life, pro-worker and pro-family measure. The measure passed the House in May but remained bottled up in committee on the Senate side until just a few days ago.

For much of the year, the Catholic Labor Network has been organizing its members and friends to conduct zoom calls with US Senate staffs in support of PWFA.

The Bishops’ letter begins:

On behalf of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we write in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, S. 1486, which will make the workplace a safer environment for nursing mothers, pregnant women, and their unborn children.

Catholic teaching is clear that policy choices around work should be made to support the family because “family life and work mutually affect one another.” The Catholic bishops of the United States have repeatedly called for circumstances of employment that better support family life, especially in the challenges associated with having children…

To read the Bishops’ letter in its entirety CLICK HERE