Gould + Ratner
What Employers Need to Know About Upcoming Required Accommodations for Pregnant Workers and Nursing Mothers

What Employers Need to Know About Upcoming Required Accommodations for Pregnant Workers and Nursing Mothers


Congress passed two laws related to pregnant workers and nursing mothers in December 2022. First, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which requires employers with at least 15 employees provide “reasonable accommodations” to a worker’s limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, unless the accommodations will cause an “undue hardship” to the employer (significant difficulty or expense for the employer). The PWFA is effective June 27, 2023, and will be enforced by the EEOC, which will issue proposed regulations subject to public comment before becoming final.

Like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “reasonable accommodations” are workplace changes that allow the employee to perform the “essential functions” of the job, which could include things like flexible hours, additional break time, being excused from strenuous activity, or time off to recover from childbirth. Also like the ADA, employers cannot interfere with employees’ rights under the PWFA or retaliate against them for exercising such rights.  

Second, Congress also passed the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (the PUMP Act), which amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and requires nearly all employers covered under the FLSA to provide nursing mothers with break times and private space to express breast milk for up to one year after the child’s birth. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are excused if they can demonstrate that compliance will cause an undue hardship.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) provided guidance on employers’ compliance with the PUMP Act. Below is a summary of key requirements:

Frequency and Duration of Breaks 

Break Space Must Be “Functional”

Break Space Must Be “Private Space Other than a Bathroom”

Break Space Must Be “Shielded from Public View”

Compensation for Break Time 

PUMP Act Does Not Preempt Other State and Local Laws

Retaliation Is Prohibited

Required FLSA Poster 

For more information or questions about the new laws, please contact a member of Gould & Ratner’s Human Resources and Employment Law Practice.

Return to Publications