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Millions more pumping employees are now covered by a new federal lactation law. 

This is a major advancement in protections for working lactating parents. “Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act” also known as the “PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act” paves the way for enhanced lactation-related support for employees.

On the Federal level, there have been laws passed such as the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law (2010) that requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding employees to pump during their work day. While this was a step forward for lactation-related protections, not all parents were covered by this law. The new law now covers both exempt and non-exempt employees, along with other types of workers not covered under the existing law. 

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act expands existing employer obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new law does not preempt state law or municipal ordinances that may provide greater protection than provided by the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658/H.R. 3110), signed into law on December 29, 2022, goes further in protections including:

  • Covers exempt and non-exempt employees.
  • Provides the right to millions more workers including nurses and teachers who had not been covered in past laws. 
  • It gives workers the right to file a lawsuit if their employer doesn’t comply with the law.
  • If notified of non-compliance by an employee, employers have 10 calendar days after such notice is provided to come into compliance with respect to such employee.
  • It clarifies that time for pumping must be paid if the employee is not completely relieved from their duties in order to pump. 

Due to industry opposition, the law does not apply to certain employees, such as flight attendants and pilots. The PUMP Act went into effect immediately upon signing. The enforcement provision included a 120-day delay, making the enforcement effective April 28, 2023. In addition, there is a 3-year delay in the implementation of the protections for railway workers. The full PUMP Act can be found here.

Often seen as a “perk” or “benefit”, corporate lactation support is a required accommodation that is needed to comply with federal, state, and local laws. The good news is that there are many companies that have already implemented lactation programs and we are proud to work alongside them in developing their spaces and support programs. Our clients know first-hand that supporting parents in the workplace with time, space and support is essential for retaining and attracting high-performing talent and improving rates of women in leadership. 

It is estimated that forty-three percent of women leave the workforce after having a child due to lack of new parent support. Mothers, in particular, have been leaving the workforce in higher numbers since the pandemic. 

Some businesses may wonder where to start in providing a lactation space. The first step is easier than you think. Adhering to lactation and parental-related laws is to understand that there are specific needs that chest/breastfeeding parents have when they are apart from their children. It does not have to be a guessing game and it does not have to be daunting. It is important to recognize and understand this is about health, wellness, and compliance. Healthy Horizons is here to make sure your employees have the tools and compliant lactation support needed to return to work. 

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