The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Last month, the Senate and the House of Representatives introduced The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill that one of its sponsors, Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), says “ensures women are never forced to decide between their child and their job.”

The bill seeks to eliminate discrimination and promote women’s health and economic security by ensuring reasonable workplace accommodations for workers whose ability to perform the functions of a job are limited by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

According to a press release from Congressman Coffman’s office, the bill makes it unlawful to deny pregnant women employment based on their need for reasonable accommodation during a pregnancy.

For more information, read the full text of the bill or the press release from Congressman Mike Coffman.

DOL Announces Funding for Paid Leave Research

The Department of Labor has made around $1.25 million available to fund research on paid leave under the “Women’s Bureau Paid Leave Analysis” program.

The initiative aims to support research and analysis needed to explore, develop, implement and/or improve paid family and medical leave programs.

The research to be funded must cover any of the following topics:

  • Statistical analysis, such as cost-benefit or actuarial studies
  • Feasibility analysis
  • Economic-impact analysis
  • Financing, eligibility and benefit modeling
  • Education, outreach and marketing analysis for implementation purposes.

The DOL will fund up to ten research grants. To learn of eligibility requirements and application procedures, read the announcement.

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Study: Standing for At Least 2 Hours Every Day Helps Improve Health

Public Health England and a community interest company offered guidelines that help promote the avoidance of prolonged periods of sedentary work.

In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the authors recommend standing for an accumulated time of at least two hours per day and doing some light activity such as light walking at work. This should eventually increase to four hours a day.

To reach the recommended number of hours, the study suggests that workers who sit most of the time should regularly break up their sedentary work patterns, use “sit-stand” desks, and have short active standing breaks. The authors stress that these measures should also include other health promotion goals such as improved nutrition and reducing alcohol, smoking and stress.

The study emphasizes that prolonged sitting raises the likelihood of cardiometabolic illness and early death.

For more information about the study, the nature of the data used, and the need for further study, read the abstract.

OSHA Head Holds Press Conference with Meteorologists to Promote Heat Stress Awareness

Assistant Secretary of Labor, Dr. David Michaels spoke to meteorologists and weather forecasters highlighting the risks of heat related illnesses to workers in the United States.

In his remarks, Dr. Michaels touched upon the fact that meteorologists and weather forecasters are in a unique position to provide a life-saving message to employees who work in the summer’s heat.

He also highlighted how OSHA partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service in 2011 to help educate the public on heat safety issues. Through this partnership, important safety information is now included when the National Weather Service issues extreme heat alerts. There is also now an app that lets workers calculate risk levels at a worksite and provides information on the protective measures that should be put in place.

To learn more, read the full transcript of Dr. Michaels’ speech.

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