Senate Passes Measure Expanding Rights for Pregnant People in the Workplace

Lots of the 24 Republicans who voted “no” on the measure additionally oppose abortion rights.

The Senate voted to incorporate a measure to increase primary office protections for pregnant folks in its omnibus funding invoice on Thursday, marking a win for labor advocates throughout a time of precarity for reproductive rights within the U.S.

Senators agreed to the Pregnant Staff Equity Act in a 73 to 24 vote on Thursday because the chamber thought-about a series of amendments to the omnibus funding invoice. The omnibus handed the Senate with the modification on Thursday, and should endure a Home vote earlier than it heads to the White Home for Joe Biden’s approval.

Unions and advocates have fought for the Pregnant Staff Equity Act for years. The proposal would supply protections for pregnant employees who require pregnancy and childbirth-related accommodations at work, like sitting, extra frequent toilet breaks, and different bodily wants. It’s aimed toward making certain that employees aren’t discriminated in opposition to or vulnerable to shedding their jobs on account of their being pregnant.

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer (D-New York) celebrated the passage of the modification. “BIG: Our modification to cross the Pregnant Staff Equity Act handed! As a result of if you’re pregnant and dealing throughout your being pregnant, you need to have the best to office lodging,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “It’s some of the vital enhancements in employee protections in years.”

All 24 “no” votes got here from Republican senators, a lot of whom additionally maintain merciless anti-abortion views; Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), as an example, instructed reporters earlier this 12 months that the Supreme Courtroom’s beautiful resolution to overturn Roe v. Wade was good partly as a result of Congress might contemplate a nationwide abortion ban — a transfer that will have horrific penalties.

In essence, these Republicans voted to power employees to endure hardship at work and doubtlessly be fired as a consequence of a being pregnant that, in the 13 states the place abortion is at the moment totally banned, employees couldn’t select to terminate in the event that they needed or wanted to.

These votes stand in sharp distinction to their supposed pro-life views, which anti-abortionists are consistently touting partly to cowl up their true goal of advancing patriarchal white supremacy, because the motion’s historic ties have proven.

Advocates for the invoice say that it will present primary protections that aren’t coated below present anti-discrimination legal guidelines.

Whereas pregnant employees are protected below equal employment alternative legal guidelines, research have proven that they’re nonetheless disproportionately discriminated in opposition to within the office; one 2013 study found, as an example, that greater than 250,000 employees are denied being pregnant lodging within the office every year regardless of these supposed protections.

Black and Latinx folks and immigrants face the worst pregnancy-related discrimination. Black ladies, as an example, file practically 3 in 10 expenses of being pregnant discrimination with federal businesses. Black persons are additionally the most probably to expertise issues or dying as a consequence of being pregnant as a result of factors like medical racism and lack of entry to high quality well being care.

The Senate additionally voted to cross the PUMP Act, which might increase breast pumping protections to millions of workers who at the moment aren’t allowed break and personal time to pump breast milk, one thing that’s usually bodily mandatory for people who find themselves away from their infants at work. The supply passed 95 to 5, with Johnson and Republican Senators John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) casting “no” votes.