The PUMP Act, or “Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act,” is set to make life easier for working parents who need to pump breast milk for their newborns. This week, an expanded enforcement provision of the act will go into effect. But what does the PUMP Act entail, and how will it impact both parents and employers?
PUMP Act – What Is It?
Sheila Dukas-Jankos, a lactation consultant and founder of Healthy Horizons, says the PUMP Act guarantees most US workers the right to break time and a private lactation space. This law extends to millions more workers, including nurses and teachers. Employers have ten days to comply, and workers can file a lawsuit if they don’t. The PUMP Act will have a significant impact in states like Alabama that lacked local laws protecting working parents who need to pump breast milk.
What Are The Exclusions?
The PUMP Act provides expanded access to private pumping facilities, but not everyone will be covered. Companies with fewer than fifty employees can avoid providing break time or lactation space if it would create an undue hardship for them. However, pumping employees should be accommodated in most cases. Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and airline crewmembers are excluded from the PUMP Act. The law will protect particular railway and motorcoach employees in December 2025 after a three-year delay.
How Important Is This Issue?
Dr. Jenelle Ferry, a neonatologist and director of feeding, nutrition, and infant development at Pediatrix Neonatology of Florida, says that consistent and routine pumping is essential for parents to provide an adequate milk supply for their babies. Pumping frequency changes with the baby’s age, and not being able to pump at necessary intervals can lead to discomfort, pain, blocked ducts, embarrassing leakage, and potential infection such as mastitis. The most detrimental impact is not having enough milk to feed the baby.