The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has published internal guidelines for agency officials responsible for enforcing Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provisions of the 2022 PUMP Act (the Act).
Employers are encouraged to review the newly published Field Assistance Bulletin No. 2023_02 to gain an ‘insider’s view’ into how the WHD will interpret and ultimately enforce lactation mandates under the Act.
A few key insights from the guide include:
- The FLSA requires employers to provide a nursing employee a reasonable break time each time such employee has a need to pump breast milk at work for one year after the child’s birth. Employees who telework are eligible to take pump breaks under the FLSA on the same basis as if they were working on-site.
- The PUMP Act does not require that employees be compensated for break time needed to pump breast milk “unless otherwise required by Federal or State law or municipal ordinance.” However, under the FLSA all hours worked must be compensated and break time to pump will be considered hours worked if an employee is not completely relieved from duty during the entirety of the break or when pumping during an otherwise paid break period.
- Privacy must be taken into consideration whether the employee is on-site or working remotely. By way of example, the guide suggests privacy may be ensured by displaying a sign when the space provided for lactation is in use or providing a lock for the door. Lactating employees must be free from observation by any employer provided or required video system including computer or security cameras, or web conferencing platform.
Overall, the guidance reminds administrative personnel that employers may address space and privacy requirements in different ways – taking into consideration the number of nursing employees and their work schedules – to determine the most effective means of fulfilling their obligations under the Act.
The guide also contains several useful employer-related links:
Updated FLSA poster (April 2023)
Office on Women’s Health’s Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions.