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 breastmilk 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.

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

  1. My place of employment has been SO accommodating to my pumping needs! I work at a large health care facility usually anywhere from 10 to 12 hour shifts, four days a week. My department manager and the entire staff have just been the most supportive team for my pumping needs! Because of them, keeping up with my nursing has been incredibly easy!

    • Hi Nicole – That’s great to hear. Thanks for sharing your experience and we’re thrilled you have such a supportive work environment.

  2. My work and former boss was great about allowing me to pump! I went a full year pumping! I am looking forward to the same accommodating experience when I have my second child.

  3. Hi there. I have been exclusively breastfeeding my 5 month old since birth. I am a Registered Nurse and on Maternity leave for a full year :) My initial breastfeeding goal was 1 year but now I am thinking we will go longer if all continues to go well. Here is my question. I work with many patients who are receiving chemotherapy and I do directly handle the chemotherapy ( with proper precautions of course). I remember awhile back we had a nurse who refused to handle chemo or wastes of a client receiving chemo while she was breastfeeding. Are there any rights I would have in this area? My employers have drastically change their expectations in recent years and made my work during my pregnancy very difficult. I was given patients with chemo, active C diff and MRSA…even when my OB specified I shouldn’t see these patients while pregnant. I want to have some good solid information for them when I go back and most importantly want to make sure my daughter is protected.
    Thank you.

  4. My employer has been great! We have a nursing mother’s room with big comfy chairs, ottoman, sink, fridge and I go and pump whenever I need to.

  5. My employer will only offer a bathroom. It’s very frustrating and since I cannot pump during the day I have to supplement with formula, which is NOT what I wanted to do. I’m very upset about it!!

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