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DOL offers industry-specific guidance on PUMP Act compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is publishing industry-specific guidance to help employers comply with the 2022 Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act).

The PUMP Act extends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements for employers to provide reasonable break time and private space for employees to express breast milk.

So far in 2024, the WHD has released guidance for the restaurant/retail, transportation, and education industries, including recorded webinars, presentation slides, and FAQs.

General PUMP Act Requirements

  • Employers must provide reasonable break time and private space for employees to express breast milk for their child for up to one year after the child’s birth.
  • The frequency and duration of breaks vary based on the employee’s unique need. However, the employer and employee may agree to a regular schedule.
  • The provided space must be functional for expressing breast milk, shielded from view, and free from intrusion by coworkers and the public. Employers can temporarily convert existing spaces or create new ones.
  • A bathroom is never an acceptable pumping space under the PUMP Act.
  • Break time may be unpaid unless otherwise required by law, but employees must be paid if they are not completely relieved from duty or if they pump during an otherwise paid break.
  • Employers cannot retaliate against employees for taking time to pump or require them to make up the time used for pumping.

Restaurant and Retail Industry Guidance

  • Restaurant and retail employers can temporarily convert existing spaces, such as storage rooms or managers’ offices, into private spaces for pumping.
  • Neighboring businesses, such as restaurants in a food court, can partner to provide shared pumping spaces for their employees.

Education Industry Guidance

  • Employees who telework must be free from observation by any required video system, including a computer camera or video conferencing platform.
  • If employees use an empty classroom for a pump break and that classroom has a recording device or security camera, the employer should ensure that the employee is shielded from view or allow the employee to block or turn off the device during the break.

Transportation Industry Guidance

  • Transportation companies can partner with businesses along the employee’s route to accommodate a nursing employee.
  • The sleeper berth of a truck may be considered an appropriate space, however, access to electricity and a sink is considered “ideal.”
  • Certain employees of airlines, railroads, and motorcoach carriers are exempt from nursing employee protections under the FLSA.

Effective December 29, 2022, the PUMP Act amended the FLSA to extend the reasonable break protections to many employees who were not previously covered, including those who are exempt from overtime.

Employers should familiarize themselves with the general PUMP Act requirements and take advantage of the tailored guidance for their respective industries to ensure they are meeting their legal obligations. Find additional guidance, including focused advice for the agriculture and care industries, at