Women's Issues

Breastfeeding mothers now have more protections at work

The PUMP Act, which was signed into law in December, gives breastfeeding mothers protections while pumping at work.

A woman looks at her one-month-old baby
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Mothers across the country now entitled to a paid break at work to pump breast milk

The new protection is part of the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (S. 1658/H.R. 3110), which gained bipartisan support. It was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in December.

It also requires companies to provide a private space, not a bathroom, for mothers to pump. 

A mother and her baby
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Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) introduced the PUMP Act, along with Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), and Black Maternal Health Caucus co-chair Alma Adams (D-NC).

Israeli mothers are seen taking part in a breast-feeding course on November 12, 2003 Moshav Udim, central Israel.
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The PUMP Act was officially enacted across the country on April 28. Even though the legislation went into effect immediately after it was signed into law, it allowed a 120-day delay for employers to adjust. There's also a 3-year delay for railway workers.

While the legislation does not protect flight attendants or pilots, it does make a huge difference in protecting more breastfeeding employees than before.

In 2010, the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law was passed. It did give the right to break times and a private space for breastfeeding employees to pump, but the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee said nearly one in four women of childbearing age were not protected by it.

a baby being breastfed
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The committee co-hosted a virtual PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act Briefing in February, along with A Better Balance, the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for WorkLife Law, MomsRising and the National WIC Association. You can watch it below to learn more about the PUMP Act.