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Rep. Roybal-Allard Helps Pass Bill to Strengthen Workplace Accommodations & Protections for Nursing Mothers

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Washington, October 22, 2021 | Benjamin Bryant ((202) 309-2383) | comments

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3110, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, on a bipartisan vote of 276-149. The bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) alongside Congressional Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Black Maternal Health Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL).

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would ensure that all nursing mothers have protections in the workplace by expanding protections to nearly 9 million employees not currently covered by the existing 2010 Break Time law.

“As Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Maternity Caucus, I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, a commonsense law to protect breastfeeding mothers in the workplace,” said Rep. Roybal-Allard. “Research clearly shows that without protections and access to appropriate and necessary accommodations, breastfeeding employees have increased risk of painful illness and infection, diminished milk supply, and are more likely to stop breastfeeding early. This bill will help ensure that new mothers in certain professions such as teaching, nursing, software engineering and other salaried positions have the same breastfeeding protections guaranteed to other workers by the 2010 Break Time law. I thank my colleague, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, for her decades of leadership in protecting and promoting breastfeeding rights for working moms nationwide and I hope to see swift passage of this important legislation.”

“When I was pregnant with my first child, I was told there was no such thing as maternity leave where I was employed. 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 Rep. Maloney. “For the health and safety of mothers and their babies, all working moms who want to breastfeed must have the time and space to pump breastmilk. These employees and their families suffer when these basic rights aren’t met. Without these protections, nursing mothers face serious health consequences, including risk of painful illness and infection, diminished milk supply, and the inability to continue breastfeeding. All working moms should be guaranteed the workplace protections to breastfeed if they want to, and no new mother should be forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck.”

“As a mom of three young kids, I understand the challenges faced by nursing moms who also hold jobs.,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler. “Making sure moms can pump at work promotes healthier families, and it’s also important to help businesses recruit and retain the workforces they need. That’s why I’m pleased the House approved this business-friendly, bipartisan legislation – endorsed by leading business associations like the U.S. Chamber of Congress and the National Retail Federation – that simply provides moms with reasonable opportunities to pump in their workplace. I’m proud to have worked with businesses, health care stakeholders, and parents in successfully leading this legislation that supports moms in Southwest Washington who are providing for their family’s health and financial security.”

“In our country, mothers often have to choose between providing for their families or nursing their babies,” said Rep. Adams. “The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act ensures that millions of working mothers have the access and protections they need to nurse for as long as they choose to do so. Every major medical authority strongly encourages nursing 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 mothers who have been forced to choose between nursing and earning a paycheck. Nursing mothers should not be punished for making the best choices for their health, and the health of their children.”

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would strengthen and expand the 2010 Break Time law by:

• Closing the coverage gap. The bill would protect 9 million employees not included in the 2010 Break Time law by extending the law’s protections to cover categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers, nurses, and farmworkers.

• Providing employers clarity on when pumping time can be unpaid, as is allowed under current law.

• Ensuring that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The full bill text can be found here and a fact sheet can be found here.

Watch Rep. Roybal-Allard’s floor speech on H.R. 3110 here.

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Tags: Health