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Adams, Maloney Celebrate PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act Passage in Education and Labor Committee

May 26, 2021
Press Release
The bill has broad support from worker advocates, public health and civil rights groups, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Alma Adams (D-NC) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), sponsors of H.R. 3110, the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, today celebrated the bill’s passage out of the House Education and Labor Committee. The bill now heads to the House floor.

Congresswoman Maloney introduced the bipartisan bill on May 11, 2021, with Congressional Maternity Care Caucus co-chairs Congresswomen Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus Alma Adams (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL). The bill has broad support from worker advocates, public health and civil rights groups, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Today, the Ed & Labor Committee took a big step towards breaking down the barriers that hold women back from the best possible health outcomes,” said Congresswoman Adams, chair of the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the House Committee on Education and Labor. “Every major medical authority strongly encourages breastfeeding 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 moms who have been forced to choose between breastfeeding and earning a paycheck. Especially during this pandemic and America’s maternal health crisis, I urge the full House and then the Senate to pass this critical legislation.”

“I’m thrilled that the Education and Labor Committee today passed the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, paving the way for full House passage,” said Congresswoman 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, or an 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.”

“I’m pleased the Education and Labor Committee approved the PUMP Act which will help working mothers who choose to breastfeed have a safe, private place to pump while at work. This legislation will ensure moms in Southwest Washington, and across the country, won’t have to choose between providing for their families or nursing their babies,” said Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. 

“I commend the Education and Labor Committee for passing this important bill out of committee, as well as my colleague, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, for her decades of leadership in protecting and promoting breastfeeding rights for working moms across this country,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.  “Research has shown that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths could be prevented each year. As Maternity Care Caucus Co-Chair, I am proud to support the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act to ensure that teachers, nurses, farmworkers and salaried employees have the same breastfeeding protections guaranteed to other workers by the 2010 Break Time Law so that they can successfully continue to breastfeed their children after returning to work.”     

“New moms returning to the workforce after childbirth should not face barriers to trying to pump at work. Yet each year, millions of working moms are denied this basic protection,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “I am proud to lead the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act and thankful for the leadership of Chairwoman Maloney in helping ensure returning to work is not a barrier to mothers making the best choice for themselves and their families.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is endorsed by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), A Better Balance, and UC Hastings Center for WorkLife Law.

Background

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

  • Closing the coverage gap. The bill would protect 9 million employees unintentionally excluded from the 2010 Break Time law by extending the law’s protections to cover salaried employees as well as other categories of employees currently exempted from protections, such as teachers, nurses, and farmworkers.
  • Providing employers clarity on paid and unpaid pumping time. The bill leaves in place existing law protecting many salaried workers from having their pay docked, and clarifies that employers must pay an hourly employee for any time spent pumping if the employee is also working.
  • Providing remedies for nursing mothers. The bill would ensure that nursing mothers have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

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