Breast Milk Pumping Rights – DOL Alert on Teachers and Other Newly Protected Workers 

February, 2023 - Erin Jones Adams

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP Act”), enacted by Congress in late December 2022, provides more nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk after childbirth and requires employers to designate private locations (other than bathrooms) that are free from intrusion and shielded from view for this purpose. With an expanded enforcement provision of the PUMP Act taking effect April 28, 2023, the United States Department of Labor is taking affirmative steps to ensure that educators understand these protections apply to teachers as well, according to a press release issued by the Department earlier this month.

The PUMP Act extends these work-related rights to millions of women not previously covered by similar protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act that only applied to non-exempt employees. In addition, the PUMP Act allows working women to take legal action and seek monetary remedies if their employer fails to comply with the law, as well as clarifies when break time must be paid if nursing mothers are not completely relieved of their duties.

With the break time and space requirements already in effect, schools should confirm that their policies and designated spaces comply with the PUMP Act. In addition, schools should ensure that their human resources officials and supervisors are trained to support institutional compliance with the law and understand how to address related requests and staffing needs. 



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