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Pumping at Work: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Doesn’t Just Protect Overtime and Minimum Wage

By Brian Markovitz

For most people familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., (FLSA), it is about protections for overtime pay, minimum wages, or prohibitions on child labor. Yet, no less important is the 2023 amendment to the FLSA, signed into law by President Biden, the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act, simply known as the PUMP Act.

The PUMP Act requires for most employers (essentially all of them with 50 or more employees) that nursing employees be provided reasonable break times and a private place, that isn’t a bathroom, to express breast milk at work. This right extends until one year after the birth of the applicable child.

As this is a relatively new law, numerous questions are being decided by the courts. These questions include: What is a reasonable amount of time to express milk? How many times can an employee take a break to pump on any given workday? What is a sufficiently private area for the mother to pump?

While not legally required, as employers can make space available on an as-needed basis, having private, secluded space(s) for mothers is a best practice as it sets expectations and allows employers and employees certainty about where to pump.

Employees who believe they have not been afforded their appropriate rights under the PUMP Act can either contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Office (1-866-4USWAGE) to file a complaint or file a complaint in court.

About The Author

Brian Markovitz

“I believe that litigation should be the last resort. Compromise is usually better. But when compromise isn’t possible and negotiating peacefully fails, we’ve got the tools, resources, and experience to help our clients in difficult situations dealing with difficult people.”

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