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Employers must give their workers time off for an abortion or pregnancy care, according to final federal rule

·1 min

Most employers are now required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant or postpartum workers, including time off for abortion, according to a rule issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The rule clarifies the provisions of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which was passed in late 2022. The law applies to employers with at least 15 workers, unless it causes undue hardship. It covers various protections such as time off for childbirth recovery, prenatal/postnatal appointments, and accommodations for seating, breaks, breastfeeding, and miscarriage. Employers are not obligated to offer paid time off. The inclusion of abortion in the act’s definition of pregnancy and related medical conditions generated substantial feedback. The law cannot require job-based health plans to pay for procedures, including abortion. The final rule outlines who is covered, what limitations and medical conditions are included, and how workers can request accommodations. Advocates have long fought for stronger protections for pregnant workers, considering the existing laws inadequate in many cases.