The PUMP Act: Now, You Can Sue Your Employer for Not Having A Private Breastfeeding Location

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orried about whether or not your office has a safe place to pump while at work? Thanks to a new law that went into effect on April 28th, companies must provide a place for nursing mothers to feed their babies. The law says that companies with more than 50 employees can take legal action if their employer does not provide a private, non-bathroom place to pump, or two to three 15 to 20-minute break times to express their milk for up to one year. 

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act is a bill passed by Congress on December 23, 2022 as part of a $1.7 trillion federal spending package. It passed the Senate with 92 votes in favor (Republican Sens. Rand Paul, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Patrick Toomey voted against it.) In the House, the bill passed on a 276-149 vote. This is an amendment to The Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act, signed in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The new law broadens the number of employees who must be accommodated by their workplaces for when they need to breastfeed. This includes workers such as taxi and truck drivers and home care aides. It also clarifies how employees must be compensated if they pump while working and adds additional avenues for legal recourse. 

The first part of the bill, the requirement to provide lactation break time and space, went into effect on December 29. The enforcement provision, which allows workers to take legal action against their employers if they’re in violation of the law, went into effect on April 28, 2023. 

Employers with 50 or fewer employees are exempt from providing accommodations if they can prove complying with the law would cause an “undue hardship” to their business, a standard that attorneys say is fairly difficult to meet. That exemption still applies under the PUMP Act. 

Experts note that most workplaces will be able to find a way to accommodate workers — many have been doing it for 13 years under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act. 

“It is possible to accommodate workers in all industries,” Morris said. “The issue is often that the employer doesn’t fully understand the needs of lactating workers and hasn’t thought creatively about how to provide break time and space.”  

Read More at the 19thnews.org.

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