The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), effective as of June 27, 2023, is a new federal law that aims to provide protections for pregnant and postpartum workers and applicants. The PWFA addresses a gap in coverage under existing federal laws, such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by guaranteeing the right to reasonable accommodations for individuals with known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.

Here are the key points of the PWFA below:

Coverage and Scope

  • Applies to private and public sector employers with 15 or more employees
  • Protects qualified applicants and employees who have a physical or mental condition related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and who have informed their employer of the condition
  • Protection is not limited to disabilities under the ADA, and any physical or mental condition related to pregnancy qualifies

Reasonable Accommodations

  • Covered employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations, unless it would impose an undue hardship on their business operations
  • Examples of reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications to the job, work environment, or usual practices that allow individuals to perform essential job functions

Interactive Process

  • Employers must engage in good-faith discussions with employees requesting accommodations to determine suitable solutions
  • Denying a job or employment opportunities based on the need for an accommodation is prohibited

Protections and Prohibitions

  • Employees cannot be forced to accept accommodations without a discussion (interactive process)
  • Denying employment opportunities due to an accommodation need is not allowed
  • Employees can continue working with accommodations instead of being required to take leave
  • Retaliation against employees for requesting accommodations or opposing discrimination is prohibited
  • Interfering with individuals’ rights under the PWFA is not allowed

Definition of “Reasonable Accommodation

  • The PWFA adopts the ADA’s definition of reasonable accommodation, and adjustments that allow applicants or employees with disabilities to perform their job on an equal basis


  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will issue regulations to clarify and implement the new law
  • The EEOC has two years from the enactment to publish these regulations, during which public input will be sought

 Effective Date

  • The PWFA became effective on June 27, 2023
  • Charges can be filed under the PWFA from this date for conduct occurring on or after June 27, 2023

It’s important for covered employers to review and, if necessary, update their accommodation policies and procedures to comply with the PWFA. Training for managers on identifying and addressing accommodation requests is recommended. The PWFA complements existing anti-discrimination laws and applies solely to accommodations, not claims of discrimination. For help navigating compliance under this new law, please contact our HR and workplace compliance experts at CalWork Safety & HR today by visiting or calling (949) 413-6821.