- Marking World Breastfeeding Week and National Breastfeeding Month, the U.S. Department of Labor kicked off an awareness push with its “Power to Pump” campaign. It’s aiming to raise the profile of protections for nursing workers’ expressing milk, particularly under the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act.
- Concretely, DOL’s Wage and Hour Division seeks to “distribute thousands of information cards” regarding workers’ rights and provide resources to community-based organizations.
- Additionally, WHD announced a slate of programming for new and expecting parents and their employers. Breastfeeding considerations for agriculture workers will be centered in September; retail and restaurant workers in October; care workers in November; teachers in December; and transportation workers in January 2024.
At its core, the PUMP Act requires employers to create a safe, designated space for nursing workers, separate from bathrooms. The law mandates break time to pump as well. Additionally, when a worker is using break time to express milk, they must either be completely relieved from their job duties or paid for their break time.
Principal Deputy Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman said in a statement that these protections are crucial, because most mothers return to work within a year of giving birth. “When a nursing worker has the right to break time and a private space to pump breast milk, they have greater peace of mind and are better able to continue breastfeeding if they choose,” Looman said.