House passes expanded workplace protections for nursing mothers

Photo by Susan Walsh/UPI/Pool

Oct. 22 (UPI) — The House on Friday approved legislation to expand workplace protections for nursing mothers.

The chamber voted 276-149 in favor of the legislation authored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. Fifty-nine Republicans joined all Democrats in supporting the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act — or PUMP Act.

The law expands the 2010 Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act, which requires employers to provide nursing employees time and private space — other than a bathroom — to pump.

The new legislation protects an additional 9 million employees previously exempt from the protections, such as teachers, nurses and farm workers. It also makes clear to employers when pumping time can be unpaid and ensures nursing employees have access to remedies available to others under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“For the health and safety of mothers and their babies, all working moms who want to breastfeed must have the time and space to pump breastmilk,” Maloney said. “These employees and their families suffer when these basic rights aren’t met. Without these protections, nursing mothers face serious health consequences, including risk of painful illness and infection, diminished milk supply, and the inability to continue breastfeeding.

“All working moms should be guaranteed the workplace protections to breastfeed if they want to, and no new mother should be forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck.”


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