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May 18, 2023 9:20am

What you need to know about the PUMP Act

What you need to know about the PUMP Act

Last month, the Providing Urgent Maternal Standards Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding mothers took effect. The PUMP Act amends a 2010 law and expands the required coverage to more employees who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

GLI advocated for the PUMP ACT as well as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) which were included in the large end-of-year spending package passed by Congress last year because of the impact on our region’s workforce. Women make up nearly half of the US workforce and the Bureau for Labor Statistics estimates that 80% will be pregnant at some point in their working life. While there will be some additional efforts for companies to comply with the PUMP Act, the benefits of retaining employees and avoiding potential litigation will far outweigh the costs for compliance.

What does the PUMP Act require?

The PUMP Act requires employers to provide break time for all workers who need to pump breast milk, regardless of their employment status, and also provide a private space for workers to pump.

Below are some of the provisions included in the law:

  • Applies to all employers, regardless of size. However, there is an exemption for businesses with fewer than 50 employees that demonstrate compliance will create an undue hardship.
  • Employers must provide a reasonable amount of break time and a space to express milk as frequently as needed for the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child.
  • The space provided by the employer must be private, shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public, and cannot be a bathroom.
  • The breaktime does not have to be paid. However, covered breaks would be paid if the employee is not relieved of all duties on break or pumps during an otherwise paid break.
  • While employees can file suit for noncompliance, the PUMP Act requires a 10-day notice to employers, during which the employer may come into compliance to avoid liability.

In the race for top talent, a strong company culture that supports employees has never been more important. Removing barriers to work and supporting working mothers by creating standards for minimum accommodations will provide more protections for employers and streamline requirements for companies.