What is the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act?

Beginning on June 27, 2023, employers, with 15 or more qualified employees, will need to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees who have limitations due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, according to the new law passed by Congress.  Prior to this law, employers were prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of pregnancy but were not, in many states, required to make any accommodation for pregnancy-related complications.  This law has changed all of that and is modeled in many ways after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Now employers must provide a reasonable accommodation unless it would be an undue hardship.  Proactive employers will want to start considering, now, how to rework any applicable policies and implement the interactive process and likely requested accommodations – such as extended time off, intermittent leave, lifting restrictions, flexible hours, requests for seating, etc.  Employers will also want to stay tuned for proposed regulations related to this law that will be published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.