As Congress adjourns for a two-week Independence Day recess, several labor and employment measures could see action before year end. The most likely candidate is an HR Policy-supported measure that would provide accommodations and protections for pregnant workers along the lines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ahead of the midterm elections, President Biden and the Democrats are looking for more legislative victories while they still enjoy a majority in Congress. This could incentivize lawmakers to attach labor-related provisions to viable legislative vehicles to secure the necessary votes for passage. Meanwhile, lawmakers are currently scheduled to spend most of August and October in recess. This means action on must-pass legislation such as funding for the federal government beyond September 30, the January 6 Commission, the debate around gun policy reform, inflation, and continued supply-chain issues will likely dominate the congressional agenda.
One bill that is ripe for action and could be sent to the President’s desk for his signature before year end is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065/S. 1486). This bill, which passed the House last year, enjoys significant bipartisan support (ninety-nine Republicans voted for it in the U.S. House of Representatives) as well as business community backing, and is waiting for a vote in the Senate. The PWFA would require employers to provide "reasonable accommodations" to employees and job applicants for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions, unless such accommodations create an undue hardship for employers.
The Association’s most recent Washington Representatives policy update includes a complete list of pending legislative and regulatory proposals in which we are engaged. Through HR Policy Association’s Washington Representatives program, members are provided with the latest updates on legislative and regulatory workplace policy efforts. Contact Chatrane Birbal at [email protected] to update or add your company’s government relations staff to the distribution list.
Outlook: Although the above-mentioned employment proposals may not gain traction in the Senate as stand-alone proposals, Democrats could include provisions from these proposals, such as the PRO Act (H.R. 842), in must-pass legislation. For example, the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521)has bipartisan support because its underlying goal is to increase competitiveness with, and reduce reliance on, China, includes labor provisions of the PRO Act and the Employee Free Choice Act and passed the House earlier this year.