Breast Pumping at Work 2023

April 01, 2023

Breast Pumping at Work 2023

Days of hiding out in an empty office, or using a bathroom are gone when it comes to pumping at work. For some of us, feeding our babies doesn’t stop when we head back to the workplace. We still have to maintain our pumping schedules while getting back into a new routine as a working mom. It’s stressful, uncomfortable, and until recently, didn’t have the best accommodations. One state is taking it a step further and expanding its laws. 

What Are My Rights?

Women are protected around the country. All 50 states are covered under a federal law that protects women’s rights to pump breast milk at work. Under The Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to do so. Employees must also have have a place to pump at work, other than a restroom, that keeps them out of view and from being interrupted from other coworkers or the public. 

In December 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act into law. It includes the PUMP Act, which gives more nursing employees the rights to have time to pump and a private place to do so at their place of work. 

New York Is Expanding Its Laws

Employers in New York already have to have a lactation room or location close to the work area for nursing moms. But under this new state aw, employers must also provide a location that’s well lit, shielded from view, and a space where others won’t interrupt. It specifically states it cannot be a restroom or toilet stall. 

This location must also include a chair, working surface, access to clean, running water, and electricity. If the building has refrigeration, employees must be allowed to store pumped milk. 

Under this amended law, employers must adopt a lactation accommodation policy. Each year, the company is required to give it to employees, give it to an employee when they’re hired and provide it to women when they return from maternity leave. The policy has to let employees know their rights as well as the requirement that employers respond to an employee’s request for a room or location to express milk within five business days. 

If you feel that your requests or needs are not being met, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. You cannot be punished or retaliated against for exercising your rights or filing a complaint. 

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