Pumping in The Workplace: Rights of Breastfeeding Moms

December 13, 2011

Pumping at work can be a challenge, but there are laws in place to protect the rights of working moms and provide them with the encouragement to breastfeed longer. Here’s an overview of these breastfeeding laws, so more working moms have the opportunity to provide breast milk for their little ones.

The Affordable Care Act includes the following requirements:

  • Your employer must provide a reasonable break for a mother to pump for one year after the child’s birth. Your employer is not, however, required to compensate you during these breaks.
  • Your employer must provide a private place, other than a bathroom, to pump. This ensures moms have a comfortable and relaxing environment, conducive to breastfeeding success.

You may be exempt from these laws if:

  • Your company has less than 50 employees and can show that compliance with the provision would cause too much hardship on the company.
  • Your company is not covered by the FLSA

If your company falls into one of these exempt categories, don’t worry. Your state’s laws may offer additional protection. In fact, twenty-four U.S. states have specific laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. You can check online to see how your state supports nursing mothers.

Moms, how does your employer support your breastfeeding goals? Share in the comments below.

25 thoughts on “Pumping in The Workplace: Rights of Breastfeeding Moms

  1. Jude's Mom says:

    I work for a very large well-known company and despite the fact our new facility was opened in February 2012 there is not an adequate space for nursing moms to pump. For the past 3 months I’ve been using a file room that has a door that does not lock. I have to place a post-it note on the door requesting privacy. This past week I brought this to the attention to the corporate powers that be in an employee survey. I might be done pumping before any change happens but I am hoping that there will be a private space for one of the 4 women in my office that are currently expecting.

    • Hi Kynleys Mom,

      The “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law does not require pumping breaks to be paid, so your employer may ask that you use part of your lunch break to pump. At first, many moms need to pump every 2-3 hours during the workday. But, your schedule will probably change over time and you may find that you need to pump less often. Your employer is required to give you a reasonable break time in order to pump. Here are some good questions to ask your employer when you talk to them about pumping at work: http://bit.ly/1pQ0a9D.

      Also, some states have additional laws and protections for breastfeeding moms. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1fpLIiF

      Hope this helps!

  2. hi I am very blessed that my work allows me to pump during the day. I pump during lunch break and I get two paid breaks because I work full time. My question is do I have the right to ask my boss to allow me at least two hours after my lunch break for my next paid break so that I can pump instead of getting a break an hour after my clocked in time back from lunch. I found it that its best that way I produce more milk rather than having a break right away and then make the rest of my day uncomfortable because it leaves me with 4-5 hours or longer at times before I get to pump again. For example I pump before I leave to work around 7am I start work at 8:30am. can I ask to take my first break by 10:30 instead of 9:30am and then if I go to lunch break at 12:30 and return at 1:30 can I ask to take a break at least two hours after my return from break rather than an hour later just so that my pumping is more successful since I had just pumped? I am supposed to be off work at 5:30 but many times I end up staying until 6:00 or longer then I have to rash to pick my baby from day care and my other children from afterschool care and when I take a break too early its really uncomfortable by the time I am getting home to pump.

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