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Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act

The bipartisan Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act has been introduced in both Houses of Congress.

The current law, Break Time for Nursing Mothers, (the Break Time law) requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the work day. While this was an important step, nearly one in four women of childbearing age are not covered by the Break Time law.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would strengthen the Break Time law by:

  • Closing the coverage gap. The bill would protect the 9 million employees unintentionally excluded from the Break Time law by extending the law's protections to cover salaried employees as well as other categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers.
  • Providing employers clarity on when pumping time must be paid and when it may be unpaid. The bill leaves in place existing law protecting many salaried workers from having their pay docked, and clarifies that employers must pay an hourly employee for any time spent pumping if the employee is also working.
  • Providing remedies for nursing mothers. The bill would ensure that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act Senate Bill Number: S. 3170

PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act House Bill: H.R. 5592

Congressional History

Legislation to expand the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law has been introduced in each Congressional session since the Break Time law was enacted. In 2011, the bill was titled the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. In 2013, 2015, and 2017, the bill was titled the Supporting Working Moms Act. With the support of the USBC-affiliated Workplace Support Constellation, the 2019 bill has been updated and adapted to better reflect the needs of breastfeeding employees and their employers. 

On January 28, 2020, Nikia Sankofa, Executive Director of the USBC, provided witness testimony at the "Expecting More: Addressing America's Maternal and Infant Health Crisis" congressional subcommittee hearing hosted jointly by the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. Nikia's testimony shed a light on the most pressing needs faced by today's breastfeeding families, described how current laws and policies impact breastfeeding rates, and explored why the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act is a simple, bipartisan policy opportunity that can make a significant impact for families. Nikia spoke alongside Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of the March of Dimes and Dr. Joia Crear Perry, President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. 

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