Health Labor Rights On the Hill

Congresswoman Maloney, Congressional Maternity Care Caucus, and Black Maternal Health Caucus Co-Chairs Introduce Bill to Protect Breastfeeding Rights to Working Moms

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, with Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler and Lucille Roybal-Allard and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Alma Adams and Lauren Underwood, introduced the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act will close a coverage gap in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act and ensure that nursing employees have the protections they need to pump during the workday.

The Act will extend protections to the 9 million employees excluded unintentionally by the Break Time law by including excluded categories of workers like nurses, teachers, and farmworkers. It also protects both salaried and hourly workers and mandates that employees must be paid during the time they pump.

“When I was pregnant with my first child, I was told there was no such thing as maternity leave at my current job, and while we’ve come a long way since then, new parents still face too many difficulties in the workplace. Those difficulties should not include breastfeeding,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “All working moms who want to breastfeed must have access to basic accommodations to pump breastmilk in clean, private spaces. 

“As a mother and grandmother, I know how important it is to break down the barriers that hold women back from the best possible health outcomes,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Every major medical authority strongly encourages breastfeeding for at least the first year of life, as it provides significant health and nutritional benefits to both the mother and infant. By closing an unintended loophole, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act provides protection and support to an additional 9 million working moms who have been forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck. Especially during a pandemic and a maternal health crisis, nursing parents should not be punished for making the best choices for their children.”

“Employers in every industry should have policies in place to accommodate the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Unfortunately, that is not currently the case for far too many sectors. Instead, too many workers are penalized, discriminated against, or left without options when they seek reasonable accommodations. The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would ensure that millions of employees left unprotected by current law will have a reasonable amount of time and a private place to pump breast milk at their place of work. This critical legislation is long overdue and is essential to safeguard the health and economic security of millions of women and families across the country,” said Vania Leveille, Senior Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union.

Source: Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act; Press Release, Congresswoman Maloney 5/11/21

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