Fairness for pregnant workers

Dear friend,

As the only single mom of young kids elected to Congress, I’m a committed fighter for working parents. Earlier this month, I proudly cast my vote for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694). This landmark bill, which passed the House with broad bipartisan support, would strengthen protections for pregnant women in the workplace.

Under the policies that prompted Congress to act, 62 percent of American workers report witnessing pregnancy discrimination on the job. Behind this staggering statistic are stories of real burdens for families, including lost wages, denial of reasonable accommodations, medical hardships, and derailed career opportunities.

I know firsthand the unique challenges of being a pregnant worker. Before coming to Congress, I taught law at the University of California, Irvine. The day my daughter was born, I expected to give a lecture before a scheduled C-section. However, my assistant refused to let me teach and cancelled the class. While I appreciated her concern, I was frustrated that someone else was making a decision for me about what was right for my family.

I was pregnant when I started my new job at UC Irvine. I understand the unique challenges facing expectant mothers in the workplace.

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act guarantees pregnant workers the right to reasonable accommodation. If there is pregnancy discrimination, the bill gives workers the right to receive lost pay, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees. With 88 percent of first-time mothers reporting they have worked during their last trimester, it is imperative pregnant workers don’t have to choose between their family’s financial security and protecting their pregnancy.

Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve been a champion for working families. One of the first bills I introduced was legislation to address the skyrocketing cost of childcare. My bipartisan Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act would more than double the amount of money families can set aside pre-tax in Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts to help pay for preschool, summer day camp, before/after school programs, and child or adult daycare. I also introduced the bipartisan FAIR Leave Act, which would close a loophole in existing leave law and ensure that married couples who work for the same employer are not restricted in the amount of leave they can take. I understand the challenges of being a working parent, and I’ll continue fighting in Congress to bring about real solutions on behalf of Orange County families. To stay up to date on how I’m representing you and California’s 45th district, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @RepKatiePorter.

          Very truly yours,
          Katie Porter
          Member of Congress