The Department of Labor [DOL] has issued new guidance regarding the newly enacted PUMP Act. The Affordable Care Act amended the FLSA to include break time and lactation space for employees who need to express breast milk at work.
PUMP Act Summary:
- The Act extends coverage to as many as 9 million more employees, including FLSA-exempt employees.
- PUMP provides a private right of action, meaning individuals may sue their employers for violation of the act.
- PUMP clarifies that time spent pumping counts as hours worked for minimum wage and overtime purposes if an employee is not completely relieved of work duties while pumping.
- Employers must provide “a reasonable break time” to express milk for up to one (1) year after a child’s birth.
- There is no maximum number of breaks.
- Remote employees are also entitled to take pump breaks just as if they were working on site.
- All management and supervisors should be aware that statements made in passing can inadvertently lead to liability, i.e., “How many times a day do you have to pump?” or “Go find somewhere to do it, but don’t take too long.”
- Employers must provide a lactation place shielded from view—other than a bathroom—that is available each time the employee needs to use it.
Every employer should review their current policies in order to ensure compliance. It should be noted that more than one (1) employee may need a lactation space at a time, and employers should be prepared to designate compliant spaces, times, and frequency of breaks in order to meet employee needs.
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