This year marks the 100th official anniversary of Mother’s Day. Let’s make it memorable by asking Congress to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. The National Women’s Law Center is asking everyone to sign the biggest Mother’s Day card ever. By signing this card, you will be asking Congress to protect pregnant women and allow them to keep their jobs when they need modest accommodations during their pregnancy.
Although California has some of the strongest workplace protections for pregnant women, many states today do nothing to protect moms-to-be in their jobs. Pregnant women have been fired because they asked to avoid heavy lifting, stay off ladders, or sit on a stool instead of standing at a cash register all day. And the companies that fired them, did so legally! This needs to change.
Women make up almost half of today’s workforce and over forty percent of moms are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families. Sixty-five percent of married mothers with children work. The Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act would help moms-to-be stay in their jobs and continue providing the financial support that their families need.
Not only are mothers’ incomes often essential to providing for the needs of their babies, but studies have shown that working mothers have children with higher scores in language, reading, and math across gender, socioeconomic, and marital status. The daughters of working mothers showed more positive assertiveness, increased willingness to challenge traditional gender roles, and increased competence. Dual income couples also report the highest marital quality. And while there is nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, we need to protect the employment of mothers who work.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) already protects disabled workers from being fired when they need reasonable accommodations at work. There is no reason that pregnant workers shouldn’t receive the same protection. For example, the ADA would protect a worker who experienced a hernia and needed to avoid heavy lifting, but if that same worker became pregnant, the employer could legally fire her for asking for the exact same accommodation.
The Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act would change this by ensuring that employers make reasonable accommodations when workers have a medical need because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Because new moms should never have to choose between the health of their baby and their job.
This Mother’s Day, tell Congress to do more than pay lip service to our hard working moms. It’s time we pass the the Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act and show our moms that they are valued both at home and in the workforce.