Stock image: A pregnant employee at her desk. Credit: New Africa/Adobe Stock

Treasury & Risk sister publication BenefitsPRO recently caught up with Seth Turner of Absencesoft, a leave and accommodation management software provider, to uncover everything employers and employees need to know about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

BenefitsPRO:  What is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), and when did it take effect?

Seth Turner:  The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, or PWFA, is a U.S. federal law that took effect on June 27, 2023. It makes pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions a covered disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Specifically, private- and public-sector employers with at least 15 employees are now required to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

BP: How can employers prepare for PWFA?

ST:  The first step is education. HR and managers must be made aware of the changes brought about by the PWFA, and policies should be reviewed and updated. Companies should also have a process in place to keep communication in one place so there is a single source of truth for all accommodation requests. Providing fair and equitable accommodations is key to staying compliant, and one key way to do this is to make sure you go through the full interactive process for every request.

Another key consideration: Companies must have a way for employees to make an accommodation request without having to notify their manager. This is something that we often see missing from organizations' accommodation process.

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