Final ‘Pregnant Workers Fairness Act’ Regulations Were Released—And It’s Great News for Women

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its final regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The landmark statute mandating “reasonable accommodation” of workers’ pregnancy-related needs went into effect last summer, but the regulations explain the PWFA’s protections in more detail, providing additional guidance to workers, employers, and the courts so that the full force of the law is given effect. 

The Best and Worst States for Family Care Policies

In 2021, the Century Foundation published its first care policy report card, “Care Matters,” which graded each state on a number of supportive family policies and worker rights and protections, such as paid sick and paid family leave, pregnant worker fairness, and the domestic worker bill of rights. The 2021 report card revealed the tremendous gaps in state care policies and a fragmented and insufficient system of care workers and families in most states.

This year’s update, co-authored with Caring Across Generations, takes another look at how states are doing.

Women Deserve Our ‘Menopause Moonshot.’ U.S. Policy Can Help.

Menopause is having its moment, so say daily news headlines. A new essay series in the medical journal The Lancet, published to coincide with International Women’s Day, argues all that hype—combined with “over-medicalization” and reliance on menopausal hormone therapy—harms women by framing menopause as a disease. But, in fact, the real disservice to women is the lack of consideration of menopause in the halls of government.

If we truly want to rise to the so-called moment for menopause, here is a policy agenda that can best serve us.

Federal Judge Rules Against Pregnant Workers in Texas

Texas AG Ken Paxton sued the Biden administration last year over a government funding package that passed largely by proxy votes because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding package, passed in December 2022, included the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which protects accommodations for pregnant employees and allows workers to sue employers for failing to do so.

Paxton argued the Constitution requires a physical majority of members to pass legislation. Since a majority voted on the funding package by proxy, Paxton said it was unenforceable. Judge James Wesley Hendrix of the Northern District of Texas agreed with Paxton’s understanding of a quorum—ruling the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act unenforceable against the state government and its agencies.

The U.S. Democratic Backslide and Gender Equity: Its ‘Own Form of Intersectionality’

“Women’s power as decision makers in the political process does not reflect our numbers or our needs. Who holds legislative or executive office, and whether we do so in critical mass numbers and with agenda-setting authority, obviously matters tremendously to the design, the enactment, the implementation and the enforcement of laws that can help us or harm us. That includes of course the power to select the judges who interpret these laws.”

(This essay is part of Women’s Rights and Backsliding Democracies project—a multimedia project made up of essays, video and podcast programming, presented by Ms., NYU Law’s Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Network and Rewire News Group.)

War on Women Report: Abortion Unavailable in 14 States; Harvey Weinstein Is Guilty; Tucker Carlson Named ‘Misinformer of the Year’

U.S. patriarchal authoritarianism is on the rise, and democracy is on the decline. But day after day, we stay vigilant in our goals to dismantle patriarchy at every turn. The fight is far from over. We are watching, and we refuse to go back. This is the War on Women Report.

This month: WNBA star Brittney Griner is home; abortion is unavailable in 14 states, the number of women experiencing police force is rising; Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of sexual assault; Fox News star Tucker Carlson was named ‘Misinformer of the Year;’ and more.

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Takes Effect, Meaning More Breaks and Accommodations: ‘A Historic Victory 10 Years in the Making’

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act takes effect today, requiring employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant and postpartum workers.

“It will no longer be the case that pregnant workers can be ousted from their jobs for simply requesting basic accommodations like permission to sit on a stool, carry a bottle of water, or take additional bathroom breaks,” said Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Keeping Score: Brittney Griner Is Freed; Iranian Women Actors Arrested for Supporting Protests; Oregon Pardons Thousands for Marijuana Charges

In every issue of Ms., we track research on our progress in the fight for equality, catalogue can’t-miss quotes from feminist voices and keep tabs on the feminist movement’s many milestones. We’re Keeping Score online, too—in in this biweekly round-up.

This week: Associated Press tells writers not to use harmful term “later-term abortion,” instead “abortion later in pregnancy”; advocates condemn the announcement of Trump’s 2024 presidential bid; Georgia’s six-week abortion ban is back; Iranian security arrested two women actors for supporting national protests; Oregon governor pardons 45,000 convicted on marijuana charges; VP Kamala Harris to swear in Los Angeles mayor-elect Karen Bass; and more.

The Senate Must Prioritize Pregnant Workers and Moms Like Me During the Lame-Duck Session

In 2019, I was working as a cashier for a large grocery store chain in Louisiana when I became pregnant with my second child. When the store’s management found out about my restrictions, they pushed me out of my job.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would close a legal loophole in the landmark Pregnancy Discrimination Act by ensuring that all employers provide pregnant and postpartum workers with modest accommodations on the job. The bill has passed in the House twice but it still hasn’t gotten a vote in the Senate, even though it has enough Republican and Democratic votes to pass. It is urgently needed and wildly popular. A recent poll showed 90 percent of Americans support the bill.