Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA)

What is PWFA?

PWFA Accommodations

PWFA Presentation_ April 2023

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Interim Army Policy Guidance


Key points:

  • 27 June 2023: Effective date of the PWFA; must abide by it even though regulations from EEOC, DoD, and Army will not be published by then.
  • HQDA is in the process of updating AR 690-12 and will include information on this new law and the applicability of reasonable accommodations.  EEOC regs will not be published before 29 Dec 2023.
  • Important to advise employees, supervisors, managers and HR community
  • The Rehab Act does not require removal of essential functions but PWFA, by way of its definition, authorizes temporary suspension of essential functions for a temporary limitation imposed by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
  • The law references both the ADA and Rehab Act; they are interchangeable w/regard to PWFA.
  • The law covers employees and applicants, even though PWFA does not use the word, “applicants”. It defines employees as including applicants. Example of applicability:  The agency schedules job interviews in the morning. Applicant has morning sickness. A reasonable accommodation would be to schedule the interview in the afternoon.
  • According to Law, pregnancy and childbirth are not disabilities and therefore reasonable accommodations for these conditions are not covered under the Rehab Act (unless there is an associated disability). With the passing of the PWFA, there is a right to reasonable accommodation (RA) because of pregnancy, childbirth and related conditions unless the RA would cause undue burden. (This evolved from a disparate treatment case, Young vs UPS, where it was argued that RA are provided to those with disabilities, yet not to those w/limitations imposed by pregnancy and/or childbirth).
  • The RA process is the same under PWFA, except, there is NO requirement to have a disability. The individual may be entitled to RA if there is a physical or mental limitation related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. DO NOT ask about disability. Don’t use forms that ask about disability. Good faith, non-adversarial, interactive process and individualized assessment are the same as the usual RA process.


Relationship to other laws:

  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and PUMP Act do not address reasonable accommodations. PDA addresses discrimination and disparate treatment.
  • PUMP Act:  PUMP – Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers. This law requires employers to provide reasonable break time to express milk and provide private location to express milk (not a bathroom). This law is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is enforced by DOL, not EEOC.