The PUMP Act and Other Pregnancy Protections.
Just in time for Rhianna’s baby bump at the Super Bowl halftime show, Congress and President Biden have expanded workplace protections for pregnant and nursing mothers. .
First, the creatively named Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (aka the “PUMP Act”) provides enhanced safeguards for women to express breastmilk at work. Covered employers must now provide break times and a private area (not a bathroom) to both exempt and non-exempt employees for two years. An earlier law applied to only non-exempt employees in certain sectors, and guaranteed protections for only one year. An employee cannot sue under the PUMP Act until she first provides the employer with notice and 10 days to cure any alleged non-compliance. In addition, time expressing breast milk must be considered hours worked if the employee is able to simultaneously perform work while pumping breastmilk. The remedies in the new law take effect April 28, 2023.
Second, the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act mandates that employers with 15 or more employees must provide a reasonable accommodation to employees for issues arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Employees also cannot be retaliated against for needing such an accommodation. While the Supreme Court has already determined in Young v. UPS that pregnant workers are entitled to accommodations when similarly situated non-pregnant employees are provided with accommodations, the new law relieves employees from the burden of identifying similarly situated co-workers. The same interactive process required under the Americans with Disabilities Act now applies for pregnant employees seeking accommodation. More details about the law, and its text, are available here.