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Reform Movement Joins Interfaith Community in Expressing Support for Pregnancy Accommodations

Reform Movement Joins Interfaith Community in Expressing Support for Pregnancy Accommodations

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Rachel Chung
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

 

Washington, D.C., June 12, 2015 – Twenty-five religious denominations, including the Reform Jewish Movement, and faith-based organizations sent a letter to Senators in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act:

Dear Senator,

On behalf of our organizations, representing a diverse range of faith traditions and religious beliefs, we urge you to co-sponsor the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). Recently reintroduced with bipartisan support, PWFA (S. 1512) would require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant employees’ health needs—if the employer can do so without undue hardship—allowing pregnant workers to continue to work to earn wages and benefits. As people of faith, we have a moral duty to ensure that no worker is forced to choose between protecting the health of her pregnancy and continuing to work to support herself and her family. We call on you to cosponsor this critical legislation.

Our sacred texts speak to the importance and sacred nature of work—an opportunity to be co-creators with God—and demand in the strongest possible terms the protection of all workers as a matter of justice. Our traditions also teach that protecting health is not just an obligation for a patient and a doctor, but is instead the most important service that a community can provide to its residents. PWFA would require employers to make simple, reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, including reassigning a worker to a desk job if her usual job requires heavy lifting, allowing someone to carry a water bottle on the sales floor, or accommodating a person’s need for regular pre-natal medical visits. Protecting and respecting the health and the dignity of pregnant workers is an expression of our religious values.

The recent Supreme Court decision in Young v. UPS has highlighted the need for clear standards for accommodating pregnant workers. Even though the Court’s decision affirmed that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 does not permit employers to treat pregnant women differently than other employees with similar work limitations, existing law is not enough to ensure that all pregnant workers receive temporary and reasonable accommodations so they can stay in the workforce throughout their pregnancy.

More than a dozen states, from West Virginia to Alaska to Louisiana, have passed legislation explicitly requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers who need them. These bills have typically passed with strong, bipartisan support, some even unanimously, demonstrating that the issue of pregnancy accommodations transcends politics. It is now time to ensure that pregnant women across America are able to carry healthy pregnancies and remain full participants in the workforce, regardless of the state they call home.

We urge you to co-sponsor and swiftly pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

Sincerely,

American Friends Service Committee
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Bread for the World
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Disciples Center for Public Witness (Disciples of Christ)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Faith in Public Life
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Guru Gobind Singh Foundation
Islamic Society of North America
Jewish Women International (JWI)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Council of Jewish Women
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
Pax Christi USA
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Rabbinical Assembly
Sikh Council on Religion and Education
The Unitarian Universalist Association
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
Uri L'Tzedek: The Orthodox Social Justice Movement
Women of Reform Judaism

Published: 06/12/2015