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Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act

The bipartisan Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658/H.R. 3110) was introduced in both Houses of Congress with bipartisan support in May 2021. 

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 nearly 9 million employees 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 any time spent pumping while the employee is also working, a common occurrence for many employees, must be counted as hours worked.
  • 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. 

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Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act

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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 was 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" joint congressional subcommittee hearing. 

The 2021 bill maintains the same components, however includes technical changes to create a cleaner, simpler bill. The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act was included in the U.S. House of Representatives joint subcommittee hearing, "Fighting for Fairness: Examining Legislation to Confront Workplace Discrimination" on March 18, 2021. On May 25, 2021, the Senate ​​​​​Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions approved the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act with unanimous bipartisan support. The following day, the House Education & Labor Committee held a markup and passed an amended version of the bill out of committee, with strong support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce