Meet the author

Attorney Stuart Jackson

Stuart Jackson


Little Rock, AR


Congress passed and the President signed into law the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in late 2022.  This new law goes into effect on June 27, 2023, and covers all employers with 15 or more employees.  So what’s it about and how do you need to plan for it?

Basically, the law requires covered employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to an applicant or employee’s known limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause an “undue hardship.”  Just because an employee is or was pregnant doesn’t mean she gets an accommodation of some type – the need for an accommodation must be tied to some pregnancy or childbirth-related medical limitation she is experiencing, one that she has in fact told you about.  And you certainly have the right to request a doctor’s note as verification when the need for an accommodation is not obvious.  Examples of covered medical conditions/limitations could include preeclampsia, morning sickness, an inability to walk or stand for long periods of time, or even post-partum depression. 

Examples of possible accommodations you may need to consider include permission to sit or drink water; receiving closer parking; flexible hours; access to appropriately sized uniforms and safety apparel; receiving additional break time to use the bathroom, eat and rest; being excused from strenuous activities; and as a last resort, taking leave or time off. 

A significant number of employers already make allowances for their employees experiencing pregnancy or childbirth-related limitations, but the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act makes accommodating those employees a legal obligation.  If you get a request from a employee for some type of change to her work or work environment that is related to pregnancy or childbirth, don’t ignore her – listen to her (and her doctor) and try to reach some type of mutually agreeable reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to continue performing her job.  And consider adding a provision to your employee handbook, especially if you already have one for reasonably accommodating employees with disabilities.