Breast Pumping At Work Laws - What are my breastfeeding rights?
Navigating Breast Pumping at Work: Your Rights and Resources
Congratulations on your new journey into motherhood! As a new mom, going back to work after maternity leave can be both exciting and stressful.
If you're planning to continue breastfeeding, it's important to know your rights and resources when it comes to pumping breast milk at the workplace.
In this blog post, we'll provide you with a simple and easy-to-understand guide that covers your rights as a breastfeeding mom, what you can discuss with your employer, and the relevant federal and state laws.
Your Rights as a Breastfeeding Mom:
Federal Law (The Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act):
- Under federal law, all employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide break time and a private, non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk during the workday.
- This provision is applicable for up to one year after the child's birth.
What You Can Discuss with Your Employer:
Timing and Frequency:
- Taking Breaks for Expressing Breast Milk:
- As a breastfeeding mom, you have the right to take reasonable breaks during your workday to express breast milk. It's important to discuss your pumping schedule with your employer to make sure it fits well with your work responsibilities.
- Choosing to Pump at Work:
- If you're comfortable and willing, you can also choose to pump while you're working. Some moms find it convenient to use wearables and continue working, while others prefer taking dedicated breaks. This choice depends on your job type and your personal preferences.
- Managing a Higher Supply:
- If you have a higher milk supply, you may need to take more breaks. Consider discussing the option of taking breaks in a designated area or integrating pumping into your work tasks. Having this discussion to create flexibility is beneficial.
Where To Pump:
- Pumping Space:
- Request a private and clean space that is not a bathroom for your pumping sessions. This space should be an area where you can express milk without feeling rushed or uncomfortable.
- Ensure the space is equipped with a comfortable chair, an electrical outlet, and a door that locks.
- Storage Options:
- Inquire about a refrigerator or a safe place to store your expressed milk during the workday.
- You can also bring your own cooler or breastmilk chiller.
Always check your state laws:
While federal law provides a baseline for breastfeeding rights at work, individual states may have additional protections or variations in their regulations.
Here's an overview of some state-specific laws:
- California has its own lactation accommodation law, which covers all employers, not just those with 50 or more employees.
- Employers must provide reasonable break time and a location other than a bathroom for lactating employees.
- New York:
- New York's law extends protections to all employees, regardless of the number of employees in a workplace.
- Lactating employees are entitled to reasonable break time and a suitable, private space for expressing breast milk.
- Texas law applies to all employees but is limited to state agency workplaces.
- Lactating employees in Texas state agencies have the right to break time and a private location for pumping.
- Florida follows federal law and requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide lactating employees with break time and a suitable space.
- Illinois law applies to all employers and requires them to provide a private space for expressing milk that is not a bathroom.
(These are just some of the state specific provisions as an example)
Remember that state laws can change, so it's essential to verify the current regulations in your state to ensure you are fully informed.
As a new mom returning to work, understanding your rights and discussing your needs with your employer is crucial for a smooth transition while continuing to provide your baby with the best nutrition.
While federal law offers baseline protection, state-specific laws may provide additional benefits, so it's essential to be aware of both.
With the right information and open communication, you can successfully balance your career and breastfeeding journey.
Good luck mama!