When you’re a new mom, you’re learning how to take care of your baby — all while your body is healing from birth and your postpartum hormones are fluctuating. This can be an overwhelming time because of sleep deprivation and general exhaustion.
If you’re planning to return to a job outside the home, another topic you’ll have to tackle is pumping. You’ll need to create a pumping schedule, determine your pumping location, and figure out where to store your expressed milk.
Thanks to the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, you have certain rights that support your lactation journey. You might be wondering, “What is the PUMP Act?” and “What does the PUMP Act do?” If your brain feels like it’s on information overload, don’t worry! In this blog, we’re answering your questions about the PUMP Act. Let’s explore what you need to know!
What is the PUMP Act?
The official name of this federal legislation is the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. According to the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act went into effect on December 29, 2022, and requires employers to provide:
- Reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child.
- A place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act also states that these accommodations must be available for one year after the child's birth, each time an employee needs it.
Who’s Covered under the PUMP Act?
Almost all employees are covered under the PUMP Act. Some notable examples are agriculture workers, nurses, and teachers. There are special rules for certain rail carrier and motorcoach employees, and, unfortunately, airline flight crewmembers are uncovered.
Are you wondering about PUMP Act requirements? All employers are covered by the law and must provide break time and space. However, those with fewer than 50 employees can be excused if they can prove that providing the required break time and space would impose a significant difficulty or expense, also called an “undue hardship.” (This exception is rare.)
How Does the PUMP Act Impact Moms?
Talk with any number of moms who’ve breastfed in the past several years, and you will hear stories of teachers pumping in their cars and nurses leaking on their patients. Many lactating parents have struggled to have the space and time to pump. Work schedules are busy, and lots of jobs are full of unexpected scenarios that make allotting time to pump very difficult.
To answer the question “What does the PUMP Act do?” consider the impact on moms. Having time to pump means their babies can have expressed milk, which research shows decreases illness in babies. For parents who want to provide breast milk — whether through a combination of feeding at the breast and bottle feeding, or exclusively pumping — the PUMP Act guarantees the right to make this choice. Having support for your parenting decisions means a lot to moms and boosts workplace morale.
Tips for Talking to Your Employer About Pumping
If possible, discuss your pumping needs before you start your maternity leave. If this conversation doesn’t happen before your leave, that’s OK! PUMP Act requirements still apply to your employer.
Here are some suggestions for talking with your employer about pumping.
- Know who to go to. Depending on your organization, the right person might be your immediate supervisor, or it could be a human resources manager.
- Schedule a time. Request a meeting to talk privately. An in-person conversation is best, but depending on work locations, a video conference or a phone call is an acceptable option.
- Prepare talking points. It’s important to go over logistics, so anticipate the questions your employer might ask and be prepared to answer. For example, how many times a day do you need to pump? How long will each pumping session last? Where will you pump? Where will you store your milk?
- Express appreciation. Thank the person who took the time to meet with you and let them know you are grateful for the company’s support.
- Plan any necessary follow-up. Figure out if you’ll need a follow-up meeting, such as a phone call toward the end of your parental leave. Also, if your employer needs to modify a room or create a pumping space, you’ll want to make sure that work is completed before you return to work.
If your employer refuses to comply with the PUMP Act requirements, you can take action by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) by calling the toll-free number, 800-487-9243, or by visiting www.dol.gov/whd.
All content found on the Lansinoh.com website, including: text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.