By Benjamin Goad - 05/06/14 03:30 PM EDT
House and Senate Democrats called Tuesday for passage of legislation creating new workplace protections for pregnant women.
The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant women, prohibiting companies from forcing workers who are expecting to unnecessarily take time off.
“It’s wrong for an employer to force a pregnant women into involuntary leave simply because she needs more bathroom breaks,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who penned the House version of the bill.
The legislation, first introduced two years ago, would impose regulations barring companies from denying jobs to women based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Renewing their pitch for the bill ahead of Mother’s Day, a group of congressional Democrats urged Republicans to sign on to the legislation.
“We need a little help on the other side of the aisle,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who lamented the government’s failure to end workplace discrimination against pregnant women.
“You would think after all these years...that we would have gotten around to providing the protection that is the essence of this bill,” Casey said. “But we’re not there yet.”
Together, the two bills have attracted roughly 150 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats.