he U.S. House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s (WA-03) bill last Friday, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. Herrera Beutler introduced the bill earlier this year with Representatives Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Alma Adams (NC-12), and Lauren Underwood (IL-14).
The bill will protect nearly 9 million employees excluded from the 2010 Break Time law by extending protections to cover employees exempted from protections, ranging from teachers, to software engineers, to nurses. Businesses will also be afforded clarity and predictably by the legislation, and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act also allows small businesses to claim an undue hardship exemption in recognition of the unique challenges they face. The legislation has earned the support of business organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation.
“As a mom of three young kids, I understand the challenges faced by nursing moms who also hold jobs,” Herrera Beutler said. “Making sure moms can pump at work promotes healthier families, and it’s also important to help businesses recruit and retain the workforces they need. That’s why I’m pleased the House approved this business-friendly, bipartisan legislation – endorsed by leading business associations like the U.S. Chamber of Congress and the National Retail Federation – that simply provides moms with reasonable opportunities to pump in their workplace. I’m proud to have worked with businesses, health care stakeholders, and parents in successfully leading this legislation that supports moms in Southwest Washington who are providing for their family’s health and financial security.”
“The Chamber is pleased to support legislation that will help keep women in the workforce at a time when all employers are struggling to find workers,” Glenn Spencer, Senior Vice President at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said. “We appreciate the bipartisan effort that went into negotiating the House bill, and we look forward to working with the Senate on continued improvements as the bill moves towards passage.”
“The National Retail Federation is proud to support the PUMP Act,” David French, Senior Vice President at the National Retail Federation said. “For over a decade, federal law has required employers to provide nursing mothers with a shielded facility and a reasonable break time to express breast milk. However, as enacted, only nursing mothers who are non-exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) were covered by the new requirements. The PUMP Act would rightly expand coverage to all nursing mothers, while also including important provisions that will ensure that employers are properly notified of the new requirements. We urge Congress to pass this sound, bipartisan legislation.”
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would strengthen the 2010 Break Time law by:
- Closing the coverage gap. The bill would protect 9 million employees excluded from the 2010 Break Time law by extending the law’s protections to cover categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers, software engineers, and nurses.
- Providing employers clarity on when pumping time can be unpaid, as is allowed under current law.
- Ensuring that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.