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Expanding Protections for Millions of Workers to Pump at Work

Title: Expanding Protections for Millions of Workers to Pump at Work


In December 2022, the PUMP Act was signed into law by President Biden, expanding critical worker protections for millions of employees who were previously not covered. This legislation ensures that working women of childbearing age have the right to break time and a private space to pump breast milk for their nursing child. As we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month, it’s important to understand the significance of these expanded protections and their impact on working parents. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of the PUMP Act, its benefits, and the remedies it provides to hold employers accountable. Additionally, we will explore the potential application of artificial intelligence (AI) in the recruitment and staffing industry and how it can bring efficiency and diversity to the process.

The Significance of the PUMP Act:

The PUMP Act extends the right to pump at work to millions of additional workers who previously did not have these protections. This expansion is crucial for working parents, considering that over 76 million women were in the U.S. labor force in 2022. The act ensures that women can exercise their choice to breastfeed without fearing workplace discrimination, retaliation, or job loss. Studies have shown that when women have the right to break time and a private space to pump, they are more likely to continue breastfeeding, leading to better outcomes for both mothers and children.

Remedies for Violations:

The PUMP Act also provides meaningful remedies to hold employers accountable for violating workers’ rights. Depending on the nature of the violation, remedies can include reinstating illegally fired employees, granting promotions that were illegally denied, and restoring lost wages with additional liquidated damages. It’s essential for workers and employers to understand that the Fair Labor Standards Act protects workers from discrimination or retaliation when they question employer practices or assert their rights to pump at work.

Promoting Awareness and Compliance:

Since the enactment of the PUMP Act, efforts have been made to spread awareness about its benefits and requirements. The Wage and Hour Division has developed resources such as webinars and collaborated with organizations like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Women’s Bureau to provide maternal health webinars. These initiatives aim to educate workers, employers, advocates, and other stakeholders about their rights and promote best practices. The division has also participated in numerous outreach events to inform people about the provisions of the PUMP Act and its impact on working parents.

Applying AI in the Recruitment and Staffing Industry:

AI can play a significant role in the recruitment and staffing industry, bringing efficiency and diversity to the process. AI tools and experts can help automate repetitive tasks, such as resume screening and candidate sourcing, allowing recruiters to focus on higher-value activities. AI-powered algorithms can analyze large datasets to identify potential candidates who possess the desired skills and qualifications. This technology can reduce bias in the hiring process by removing human biases and promoting a more diverse and inclusive workforce.


The expansion of protections for millions of workers to pump at work through the PUMP Act is a significant step towards supporting working parents. It ensures that women have the right to break time and a private space to express breast milk, enabling them to continue breastfeeding if they choose to do so. The act also holds employers accountable for violations and provides remedies to affected workers. Additionally, the application of AI in the recruitment and staffing industry can enhance efficiency and promote diversity. As we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month, it’s crucial to educate and empower nursing workers about their rights and the potential benefits of AI in the workplace.

By Jessica Looman, Principal Deputy Administrator for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. Follow the division on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @WHD_DOL.

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