Legislation will ensure that millions of working mothers have the access and protections they need to breastfeed in the workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) celebrated the House passage of the PUMP (Providing Urgent Maternal Protections) for Nursing Mothers Act. This bill, introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), will ensure that millions of mothers in the workplace have the access and protections they need to breastfeed should they choose to do so.

“When I was a new mother working as the general counsel for the state Office of Child Care Services in Massachusetts, my office was essentially a glass box. Without a designated breastfeeding area, any time I needed to pump, I taped printer paper over my windows and prayed that the pages didn’t fall so I could have a moment of privacy -- it made the stresses of new motherhood that much worse. Any new mother who wants or needs to breastfeed in the workplace must be provided the space, time, and privacy necessary to do so as a basic right,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “Passing and enacting the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is essential to achieving equity in our workplaces and finally acknowledging that women belong in all spaces.”

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 unintentionally excluded from the 2010 Break Time law by extending the law’s protections to cover salaried employees as well as other categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers.
  • Providing employers clarity on when pumping time must be paid and when it may be unpaid. The bill leaves in place existing law protecting many salaried workers from having their pay docked, and clarifies that employers must pay an hourly employee for any time spent pumping if the employee is also working.
  • Providing remedies for nursing mothers. The bill would ensure that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is endorsed by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), A Better Balance, and UC Hastings Center for WorkLife Law.

"Accommodations for working mothers who are breastfeeding their children are critical to improving equity in the workplace," said Jennifer Benson, former MA state legislator and president of the Alliance for Business Leadership. "Working mothers across the U.S. deserve the same protections that women in Massachusetts have had for years. Passage of the PUMP Act is long overdue and will remove a significant barrier to women who are forced to choose between breastfeeding and returning to work."

To watch footage of Assistant Speaker Clark discussing the bill, click HERE.