Instead of giving your mom flowers, jewelry, or a sappy but heartfelt card on Mother’s Day this year, how about the gift that keeps on giving: a little butt-kickin’ activism?
Before the big day actually arrives, pick up the phone, call the Capitol switchboard and ask your members of Congress if they’re a co-sponsor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). If your senators and/or representative say no, follow up with “and why the hell not?!” Leave a message if no one picks up.
Here’s the deal: lots of pregnant women need to work. No surprise, right? Last I checked: The bills don’t stop coming just because you’re pregnant.
Sometimes a woman needs a minor and temporary job modification in order to keep working during their pregnancy. Maybe she needs a stool to sit on while working the cash register, or maybe she needs to carry a bottle of water to avoid dehydration. Maybe she just needs a light duty assignment because the doctor advises against putting a 50-pound box on her big, bulging belly. She’s not asking for anything unreasonable.
But you know what she often gets in response? Unpaid leave. No health insurance when she needs it most. No income to pay for the mounds of diapers.
Basically, some women are being asked to choose between a healthy pregnancy and putting food on the table.
That’s just wrong. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was supposed to take care of this problem, but that’s not happening. So several members of Congress have stepped up and are pushing for the PWFA, a bill that requires some employers to provide reasonable workplace accommodations to pregnant employees as long as those accommodations don’t place an undue burden on the business. Employers are already doing this for workers injured on the job or workers covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This isn’t anything new or special.
So, this Mother’s Day think about this: If your representative or senators have ever uttered the words “family values,” “healthy pregnancy,” “strong economy,” or “moms are great,” then call and demand that they co-sponsor PWFA. If they’ve ever kissed a baby or had a baby, tell them to co-sponsor PWFA.
And I take the card thing back. In fact, a few of us were marching around with the “Largest Mother’s Day Card Ever to Hit Capitol Hill“ in order to raise awareness about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. So go ahead and send a card. But call first. Congress, not your Mom. Call Mom later.