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Workplace Accommodations and Protections for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers: New Federal Law Requirements

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act)

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will guide employment counsel on the recently enacted two federal landmark pieces of civil rights legislation for pregnant and nursing mothers in the workplace: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). The panel will highlight issues relating to the new federal mandate, provide an update on the interplay of important federal and state laws, and outline practical implications for employment counsel when advising clients with respect to key accommodations and protections in the modern workplace.


Until recently, no federal law assured pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. Congress passed the PWFA which states that private sector employers with more than 15 employees, as well as public sector employers, must provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants and employees with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, except if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of a business. Like the ADA, the PWFA would require an interactive process between employers and pregnant workers to determine what constitutes appropriate and reasonable accommodations.

In addition to the PWFA, the PUMP Act was included in the new legislation. This new law extends workplace protections for nursing mothers to include exempt, as well as non-exempt, employees. The law also provides that employees must be completely relieved from work or otherwise such time is counted as hours worked, which is significant for calculating overtime for non-exempt employees. Among other issues, including break locations, there are carveouts for small employers/businesses where compliance would pose an undue hardship and new exceptions for certain employees of air, rail, and bus operators.

For enforcement purposes, the PWFA will be enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) laws. The PWFA also provides a private right of action upon an aggrieved employee's exhaustion of their EEOC administrative remedies. The PUMP Act will be enforced under the remedies provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes a private right of action for aggrieved employees who faced retaliation. Both the PWFA and the PUMP Act do not preempt state or local laws that afford greater protections for pregnant and nursing workers.

Listen as our distinguished panel of employment counsel discusses the PWFA and the PUMP Act and its pivotal accommodations and protections. The panel will also address more generous state and local laws, especially in the case of multistate employers and offer practical advice for PWFA and PUMP Act compliance.



  1. Overview of the PWFA
    1. New accommodations and enforcement
  2. Overview of the PUMP Act
    1. New protections and enforcement
  3. Interplay of federal and state laws
  4. Best employment practices for avoiding pregnancy-related claims


The panel will cover these and other key issues:

  • What steps should counsel take to ensure compliance with the PWFA and PUMP Act?
  • What issues have not been resolved or remain ambiguous as counsel offers advice to clients for purposes of the PWFA and PUMP Act?
  • What are best employment practices when navigating the new laws to steer clear of costly pregnancy-related lawsuits?


Fant, Laura
Laura M. Fant

Special Employment Law Counsel
Proskauer Rose

Ms. Fant frequently counsels on employee leave and accommodation matters involving the Americans with Disabilities Act,...  |  Read More

Hetrick, Randall
Scott Hetrick

Partner; Labor and Employment Team Leader
Adams and Reese

Mr. Hetrick is a management rights advocate who represents employers on federal and state labor and employment law...  |  Read More

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