What employers need to know about the PWFA and PUMP Acts

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) were expanded to include more protections for employees who lactate. These new provisions affect all workplaces in the U.S. and are now in effect. The PUMP Act applies to all businesses with more than 50 employees. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are also affected unless the business can prove the law causes undue hardship. Here’s what you should know about these changes in the workplace and how your business can properly comply with the acts. 

Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act has expanded beyond discrimination in the hiring process and in workplace policies. Employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions are now protected by this bill to receive “reasonable accommodations.” Such accommodations could include time off for various doctor appointments, chairs when other employees are standing or an increase in bathroom breaks. If accommodations hinder key responsibilities of the job, like lifting heavy objects or a lot of physical movement, employers should consider transferring the pregnant worker to a different role within the company. Of course, this would be determined on a case-by-case basis and depending on open positions. 

Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act 

The new PUMP Act legislation is more specific than the previous provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act placed a requirement on businesses to provide a break time for salaried workers to pump their breast milk. The new PUMP Act covers all types of employees, not just those exempt from overtime. Another requirement for employers is to provide a private space for workers to pump their breast milk, and the space cannot be a bathroom and must be hidden from public view. Employers should consider a room with an electrical outlet, a place for storing the pump and a refrigerator to store the milk. Exceptions to the PUMP Act include pilots and flight attendants, due to opposition from the industry. Employees must notify their employer if they are not being provided correct accommodations and the employer has 10 days to comply. 

If you have any questions regarding the PWFA and PUMP Acts, don’t hesitate to reach out to the employee benefits experts at CanopyNation. Additionally, we can discuss unique benefits that support families within your organization.