October-November 2019 Government Affairs Update

U.S. Government Funded Through December 20

The president signed a second continuing resolution on November 21. The short-term spending bill keeps all federal government agencies, offices and programs operating at Fiscal Year 2019 levels. Congress still needs to pass 12 appropriations bills to put the FY2020 budget in place.

 

House Considers Stronger Job Protections for Pregnant Employees

On October 22, members of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Service held a hearing on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 2694).

Designed to help pregnant employees stay on their jobs, the bill would make it illegal to “not make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of a job applicant or employees.” It also bans retaliation and discrimination for requesting pregnancy accommodations.

In practical terms, enacting this legislation would mean that employees would not be required to take leave if a reasonable accommodation could be provided. Employers could decline to provide an accommodations by showing that doing so would impose an undue hardship.

As currently drafted, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act uses the same definition of “reasonable accommodation” as the American with Disabilities Act, and its enforcement mechanism is the same as the one for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

Congressional Reps Hold Hearings on the Future of Work

In the first of three scheduled sessions, members of the House Education and Labor Committee explored ways to preserve worker protections. Testimony given on October 23 addressed what Congress can do to ensure that workers have fair wages, hours and benefits; safe workplaces; and the chance to bargain over working conditions.

According to Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), each hearing will examine how “evolving business models and rapidly changing employment arrangements, coupled with increased use of technology and automation, are impacting workers and employers.”

 

For additional information, please contact IPMA-HR Executive Director Neil Reichenberg at nreichenberg@ipma-hr.org.

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