Three-quarters of women entering the workforce in the U.S. will be pregnant and working at some point in their lives. Some of these women—particularly those in physically strenuous jobs, jobs that require standing for long periods, and hourly jobs with limited, scheduled restroom breaks—will face a conflict between their jobs and the demands of pregnancy.
Women who don’t receive accommodations may have to leave their jobs or work under conditions that are unhealthy for them or their pregnancies, increasing the risk of premature birth and other short- and long-term health conditions. Most women can work well into the third trimester with minor workplace modifications, which benefits both workers and employers.
Women make up almost half of our nation’s labor force, and 40 percent of women are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families. When women choose to have children, their employers should respect that choice by accommodating their needs, not discriminating against them. Reasonable accommodations might include things like more frequent restroom breaks, access to water, or temporary reassignment to lighter duties.
NARAL Pro-Choice Washington believes that no woman should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and a paycheck. That’s why we support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would require employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations, and will continue to advocate for this common-sense proposal to prohibit discrimination against pregnant workers.