The PUMP Act (the Act), signed into law in December 2022, expands protections for nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It requires covered employers to provide reasonable break time to allow nursing mothers to express milk for one year after childbirth, as often as needed; and a private space in which to do so that should be shielded from view and free from intrusion and is not a bathroom.
Regarding the implementation of the Act’s provisions, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recently released industry-specific guidance for the agricultural, educational, transportation, restaurant, and retail industries, as these industries often face unique challenges in complying such as limited space, unpredictable schedules, and customer demands. The guidance provides much-needed clarity and support for these fast-paced and often demanding workplaces.
The DOL guidance acknowledges these challenges and provides practical solutions for employers including:
Employers are encouraged to review the guidance for their industry to avoid potential legal challenges and fines that may result from non-compliance. Employers should also ensure that supervisors/managers are trained in the law and understand their obligation to provide break time and private spaces for lactation.
It is important to keep in mind state and local laws regarding lactation breaks which may have additional requirements. Where federal, state, and local laws differ, the employer should adhere to the law that provides the greatest benefit to employees.