The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) both passed the Senate with bipartisan support today as amendments to the omnibus spending package! This was the last major hurdle for both pieces of legislation and a huge victory for mothers and families.
The Center for WorkLife Law’s report Exposed: Discrimination Against Breastfeeding Workers, provided the rallying cry for the PUMP Act by revealing key gaps in existing federal law. As Exposed details, the decade-old Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act excluded 9 million women workers of childbearing age, and left millions more with extremely limited options for securing their rights. The PUMP Act closes these harmful loopholes, extending the rights to lactation break time and space to teachers, nurses, farmworkers, and many more. Unfortunately, airline crewmembers remain uncovered by these critical protections due to unrelenting opposition from the airline industry, but the fight for their rights will continue.
“The PUMP Act closes the decade-old gaps in federal workplace protections for lactating parents,” said Jessica Lee, Senior Staff Attorney. “Passing this legislation is a wonderful holiday gift for the millions of moms who have been struggling to earn a living and provide the milk their child needs.”
Another piece of landmark legislation, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, will give critical rights to workers during pregnancy and postpartum, including the right to receive reasonable changes at work such as carrying a water bottle, avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals, and modified work duties necessary to continue breastfeeding.
“Today the Senate sent the powerful message that mothers matter. Their health and the health of their children matter. This historic legislation will make a significant difference in the lives of mothers and families on day one,” said Center for WorkLife Law Deputy Director, Liz Morris.