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PUMP ACT and New York Labor Law Promising Advancements for Breastfeeding Protections for Working Parents Passed in 2022

PUMP ACT and New York Labor Law Promising Advancements for Breastfeeding Protections for Working Parents Passed in 2022

At the onset of a new year, we have two major advancements in protections for working lactating parents–the PUMP Act and the amended law in New York that continue to pave 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 an incredible step forward for lactation-related protections, not all women or parents of childbearing age were covered by this law. 

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

-Providing 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.

-It clarifies that time for pumping must be paid if the employee is not completely relieved from their duties in order to pump. 

-It provides coverage to lactating parents that give birth to a stillborn child or who don't have custody.

-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.

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. Although 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 bill can be found here.

Another step forward for employee lactation protections was passed in New York, which amends the current lactation labor law requiring all statewide businesses to provide quality, clean and safe lactation spaces for employees. The law has been further expanded to include a directive that employees are to get lactation rights-related materials upon hire, annually and when returning from parental leave after welcoming a new child. 

Often seen as a “perk” or “benefit”, corporate lactation support is a required accomodation 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 and mothers, in particular, have been leaving the workforce especially 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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