The U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill, seen during sunset in Washington, U.S., September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

House passes biz-backed bill adding protections for nursing moms

(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday handed a bill supported by the White House and main enterprise teams that might lengthen office protections for nursing moms to hundreds of thousands of staff.

The House voted 276-149, with 59 Republicans becoming a member of each Democrat within the chamber, to advance the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections to Nursing Mothers (PUMP) Act to the Senate.

If the bill clears the Democrat-led Senate, the place it additionally has Republican assist, it could require employers with 25 or extra staff to supply time and personal house for nursing moms.

The Inexpensive Care Act of 2010 amended the Honest Labor Requirements Act to increase these protections to sure staff however not noted an estimated 9 million people who find themselves exempt from different FLSA protections together with agricultural staff, academics and airline staff.

The PUMP Act would get rid of these exemptions whereas additionally permitting staff to hunt again pay and reinstatement if they’re fired for requesting breaks to pump milk.

The bill additionally would require employers to pay staff for time spent on these breaks if they don’t seem to be utterly relieved of their job duties.

The White House Workplace of Administration and Price range final month signaled its assist for the bill, saying in a press release that nursing moms who lack authorized protections face critical well being penalties reminiscent of threat of an infection, diminished milk provide and lack of ability to proceed breastfeeding.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a letter to House members stated it strongly supported the PUMP Act as a result of it could present readability to employers and assist keep away from litigation. The Chamber, nevertheless, requested that airline staff be exempted due to the restricted personal house accessible on airplanes.

Advocacy teams praised Friday’s vote, together with the American Civil Liberties Union, which stated in a press release that the legislation is required as a result of many employers would not have insurance policies in place to accommodate pregnant and breastfeeding staff.

“Instead, too many workers are penalized, discriminated against, terminated, or left without options when they try to pump breast milk at work,” stated Vania Leveille, the ACLU’s senior legislative counsel.

Daniel Wiessner

Dan Wiessner (@danwiessner) stories on labor and employment and immigration legislation, together with litigation and coverage making. He could be reached at [email protected]