On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed into law The PUMP Act, which expands protections for millions of breastfeeding mothers planning to return to work. This Act specifies in detail what employers must provide in order to support this workforce. Building on the 2010 PUMP Act which laid the foundation for breastfeeding employee rights, this new legislation closes many loopholes included the initial legislation. Today, most if not all organizations will be held accountable to the standards set forth in this Act. The question is….are you ready?
Here are 7 steps you can take to ensure you are in compliance with The PUMP Act:
1. Educate yourself on The PUMP ACT requirements. The most important step in complying with The PUMP Act is familiarizing yourself with the law. Here are a few great resources to get you started that explain the specifics of the law. All business leaders should be properly versed in this law as it may impact their work streams now or in the future. Consultants are available to help with executive education, should you find that useful for broad scale communications.
2. Assess your current accommodations. Do you currently have a private space, not a bathroom, that is shielded from view? If so, you are one step in the right direction. Having proper, private lactation spaces is the first step. But it’s truly what’s inside the room that matters most.
3. Determine your needs. Whether you have a permanent lactation room or a lactation pod, be sure you have the proper furniture to support a pumping mother. Optimal rooms will have a sink for the washing of pump parts and hands, a private refrigerator for the safe storage of breastmilk, and a true lactation chair. Note a lactation chair is vastly different from a nursing chair. (To learn more about pumping chairs, click here).
4. Evaluate options for Lactation Space Furniture and Lactation Pods. Creating lactation space doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. In fact, there are many easy solutions that can instantly transform any space into a clean and comfortable nursing mother’s room. The Nessel portable Lactation Station is one option, arriving pre-assembled with a private refrigerator and portable sink. It also arrives with a custom designed, ergonomic pumping chair. Nessel also offers a suite of lactation pods, which provides privacy required for a proper nursing mothers room.
If your room already has some furniture and you are simply looking to add or enhance the offerings, you may want to consider a portable handwashing station. Adding a sink to any lactation space elevates the sense of sanitation and safety and is one of the key features a pumping employee will appreciate the most.
5. Create or improve your lactation spaces. Once you’ve determined your lactation station requirements and / or what additional furniture your lactation space may need, take the initiative to make it happen. It is reasonable to expect this can take a few weeks, so it’s best to start planning early. Most employees who are about to take a maternity leave will find it reassuring to know that a lactation space will be ready upon their return should they need it.
6. Train your teams. HR business leaders are not the only ones who need to know about the new PUMP Act. Every manager needs to familiarize themselves with the requirements to adequately provide proper break time and support to employees on their teams. Training teams on the importance of this Act can also serve as a team building event and can help promote a culture of inclusivity.
7. Manage compliance. One of the riskiest things for business leaders is to fall out of compliance with the law. Good thing it is easy to get ahead by ensuring your teams and leaders are well educated, your spaces are properly designated and designed, and your policies reflect your commitment to and understanding of The PUMP Act. If you are proactive in adhering to The PUMP Act, you will not only avoid legal issues, but you will reap the benefits of supporting your breastfeeding employees. Significant research shows there is a 3x ROI on creating a lactation space; take the first step today to make sure you have established a proper one for your organization.