Alert – Congress’ New Spending Bill Contains Two New Employment Laws
January 5, 2023
As you likely know, at the end of 2022, the U.S. Congress enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (the “Act”) to fund the government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2023, and to provide emergency assistance for Ukraine. You may not know that tucked into the end of this lengthy Act are two new employment laws: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (“PUMP”) for Nursing Mothers Act.
We have provided a brief summary of both below and will provide additional information about these laws in the coming days as we flesh out more details.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act
This new federal law is akin to the Nevada Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act which became effective for Nevada employers in October 2017. It significantly changes employment law by essentially requiring an employer to make reasonable accommodations for pregnancy even if the employee or applicant is not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As you know, a routine pregnancy, absent complicating factors, is not considered a disability under the ADA.
This new law applies to employers with 15 or more employees. It requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant individuals who have a physical or mental condition related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions whether or not that condition meets the definition of disability under the ADA. It also provides that a pregnant worker is entitled to an accommodation even if she is temporarily unable to perform the essential functions of her position as long as the essential function could be performed in the near future and the inability to perform the essential function can be reasonably accommodated.
You can find this new law at Division II of the Act. It becomes effective in June 2023. It is possible that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will provide guidance on this law in the near future.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (“PUMP”) for Nursing Mothers Act
This law is set forth in Division KK of the Act. It is very similar to Nevada’s 2017 Nursing Mother’s Accommodation Act, which you can find at Nevada Revised Statutes 608.0193.
The new federal law amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require an employer to provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for a nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth “each time the employee has need to express the milk.” It also requires an employer to provide the nursing mother with a place to express milk, other than a bathroom, which is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
Like Nevada’s law, the new federal law provides an exception for small employers – those with less than 50 employees – but only if the law’s requirements would impose an undue hardship on the employer by causing significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to its size, financial resources, nature or structure.
This new law became immediately effective when the Act was enacted on December 29, 2022.
KZA Employer Report articles are for general information only; they are not intended and should not be construed to be legal advice. Reading or replying to such articles does not establish an attorney-client relationship. In addition, because the subject matters and applicable laws discussed in Employer Report articles are often in a state of change and not always applicable to every type of business entity or organization, readers should consult with counsel before making decisions based on the same.