Pumped About My Rights
In the United States, you have rights to pump at work, and we're here to empower & educate you!
Read on for information about the recently passed Federal legislation (The PUMP Act) that provides millions of workers with critical protections for time and space to breastfeed; access legal help when needed, and find additional resources on lactation in the workplace, including resources for your employer.
The PUMP Act (PASSED on December 29, 2022)Read The PUMP Act Legislation
(To access the complete Omnibus bill, 1600+ pages, click here //The PUMP Act is found on pages 1635-1639)
On December 29, 2022, The PUMP Act - Providing Urgent Protections for Nursing Mothers - was signed into law as an amendment to the Omnibus Spending Bill. The US Senate passed this amendment with a final vote of 92-5.
What does The PUMP Act provide for breastfeeding workers?
- Post partum parents now have their right to break time to pump as needed, as well as a pumping space that is NOT a bathroom that is free from intrusion by the public or coworkers.
- This applies to hourly and salaried employees. This is an expansion of the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act that previously only covered hourly employees.
- The protections for breastfeeding workers in The PUMP Act cover one year after the birth of baby.
- (Important note: When The PUMP Act first passed, there was misinformation, including in major media outlets covering the legislation, which indicated that protections provided covered two years after the birth of a baby; this is not correct, the final law provides for coverage for one year after birth of a baby. The original House of Representatives bill (which passed) expanded coverage to two years, but in the process of finalizing the Senate/Omnibus legislation, this was reduced back to one year of coverage after the birth of a baby -- we have more work to do here as advocates.)
- The allotted pumping space does not need to be permanent, so pods, curtains and partitions may be used.
- If your local laws give greater protection than what the PUMP Act provides, then employers must provide that. Breaks are to be considered hours worked unless the employee is "completely relieved from duty during the entirety of such break.”
- Protection applies to parents who are providing breastmilk to a nursing child; who have given birth to a stillborn child; and employees who are providing breastmilk to a child they do not have custody of.
- Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt if it would create an undue hardship — significant difficulty or expense in relation to the size, financial resources, etc. of the business. Small Business Exemption-All employees who work for an employer count, regardless of work site. This includes full-time and part time employees, as well as others who meet the FLSA definition of employee.
- If an employer fails to provide adequate pumping space, the employee must inform the employer and provide them 10 days (calendar) to comply before the employee takes legal action.-unless the employee is fired as a result of requesting break time or space; or- unless the employer has indicated they have no intention to comply.
- Air Carrier Employees: Employers that are air carriers are not required to comply with these regulations for employees who are crew members.
- Rail Carrier Employees: The following regulations for rail carrier employees will take effect 3 years after the enactment of The PUMP Act. Employers that are rail carriers must comply, in general. With respect to employees who are members of a train crew involved in the movement of a locomotive or rolling stock, and employees who maintain the right of way, rail carriers must comply unless providing break time or creating a pumping space would be a significant expense, or if it would result in unsafe conditions for employees who maintain the right of way. Installing a curtain or screening protection to create a private pumping space shall not be considered a significant expense. Employees are also permitted to temporarily obscure the field of view of image recording devices while expressing breastmilk if the passenger train is not in motion. The recording device must be uncovered as soon as the employee is done expressing milk, and before resuming operation of the passenger train. While The PUMP Act protections take effect in 2025, the ability to obstruct cameras while pumping is effective immediately as of the date of The PUMP Act enactment (12.29.22).
- Motorcoach Services Operators: The following regulations for motor coach employees will take effect 3 years after the enactment of The PUMP Act. Employers that are motorcoach services operators must comply in general. With respect to employees involved in the movement of a motorcoach, employers must comply unless accommodations would cause a significant expense to provide a private space or by making unscheduled stops, or if it would result in unsafe conditions for the motorcoach employees or passengers. Installing a curtain or screening protection, or pumping on scheduled stops, shall not be considered a significant expense.