Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections For Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP For Nursing Mothers Act)
Two new federal acts will impact accommodations for pregnant and nursing women.
- The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) (42 U.S.C. § 2000gg) officially went into effect on June 27, 2023, and applies to all employers with at least 15 employees.
- It requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees and applicants with known temporary limitations on their ability to perform the essential functions of their jobs based on physical or mental conditions related to their pregnancy.
- When an employee notifies their employer of their limitations, the employer may not require the employee to take a paid or unpaid leave of absence if another reasonable accommodation can be provided.
- The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act) (29 U.S.C. § 218d) officially went into effect on April 28, 2023, and covers employers of all sizes and all employees.
- PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act expands existing employer obligations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide an employee with reasonable break time to pump milk for the employee’s nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.
- Employers must allow for as much pumping time as the employee needs.
- The break time used for pumping may be unpaid unless the employee chooses to pump milk during an otherwise paid break period or if the break is for a period less than 20 minutes.
- In Illinois, the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act (820 ILCS 260), provides similar protection as the PUMP Act with one exception, that an employer may not reduce an employee’s compensation for time used for the purpose of pumping milk.
To ensure that your company is complying with both sets of new requirements, we recommend that your company take the following steps:
- Make sure your company has a reasonable accommodations policy. If so, review and update the policy based on the new requirements.
- Ensure that your HR professionals as well as your managers understand your company’s reasonable accommodation policy and practices and will implement the policy.
- Create a process for employees to follow when they request reasonable accommodations due to their pregnancy related condition. This process should mirror the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) process that includes requesting supporting documentation from a medical provider.
- Educate your HR team and managers on what the new law PUMP requires in relation to providing acceptable break times and private spaces.
- Ensure that your company is still complying with state law or municipal ordinances that guide the regulations of pumping milk. If state law or municipal ordinances provide greater protection than the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, then state or municipal law controls.
- Ensure that your office has a private space in which nursing mothers can pump breast milk. Employers are not required to provide a permanent space, but under the Act, the space must be “shielded from view,” “free from intrusion,” “available each time it is needed by the employee,” and “not a bathroom.”
The attorneys at Boodell & Domanskis, LLC are available to assist you with ensuring that your company is complying with the new requirements set forth by PWFA and PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. Contact us today.
You can read more at the following links:
PWFA: Fact Sheet