DOL to alert teachers to new breast milk pumping rights

The U.S. Department of Labor will work to alert employees to new breast milk pumping rights, the agency announced Thursday. Its efforts will include a focus on teachers, DOL said.

Congress expanded workplace pumping rights to millions more workers late last year, guaranteeing them the time and space to pump during the workday. Those protections were previously limited to workers not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime requirements — typically those paid hourly.

The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act, known as the PUMP Act, is expected to affect large swaths of workers in certain industries such as education, and it took effect immediately. 

“The Fair Labor Standards and Family and Medical Leave acts include provisions to protect the rights of new and expectant mothers to care for and bond with their children. For more than a decade, many working parents have had legal protections to be able to have break time and proper space at work to express breast milk,” said DOL’s Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman in a statement announcing the initiative. “The PUMP Act strengthens and expands these protections to give more working parents peace of mind when it comes to caring for their child.”

DOL said its outreach campaign will include online guidance, fact sheets and other resources for workers and employers already available on its website.

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