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House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Workplace Protections for Nursing Mothers

10.22.21

PUMP Act would ensure nursing mothers have the time and privacy they need to pump at work

WASHINGTON – Today, the House passed bipartisan legislation that would strengthen and expand workplace protections for nursing mothers. The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act requires employers to provide nursing workers the break time and privacy they need to pump at work to keep themselves and their infants healthy.

The bill extends nursing mother protections to the nearly 9 million workers – including farmworkers, teachers, and transportation workers – who are currently excluded under current law. It also gives workers the tools to hold employers accountable when their rights are violated.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), and Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL). It is supported by workers, advocates, civil rights and public health groups, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Nursing mother protections are necessary for workers to balance their jobs, their health, and the health of their babies. This is particularly important now as parents, particularly mothers, attempt to re-enter the workforce after millions of workers were forced to leave their jobs during the pandemic,” said Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott. “The bipartisan, bicameral PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would strengthen existing law, improve the lives of nursing workers across the country, and help our economy get back on its feet.”

The key provisions of the PUMP Act:

  • Extend break time and space protections to workers who are currently excluded from overtime protections, including agricultural workers, transportation workers, airline workers, and teachers;
  • Ensure workers can recover appropriate forms of relief in court for violations, including reinstatement or back pay;
  • Extend break time and space protections to workers up to two years after the employee gives birth or begins nursing a child;
  • Ensure workers are covered by break time and space protections when they begin nursing a child, including an adopted child, or when they give birth, even if the infant is stillborn or the worker does not retain custody of the infant; and
  • Clarify that if a worker is not completely relieved of duty during breaks, such break time is considered hours worked and thus compensable.

For a fact sheet on the bill, click here.

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