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.

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

  1. My daughter is 5 months old and I have been pumping since returning to work a month ago. My job got me a curtain to put in our back room so I have a little more privacy. My district manager did tell me to go in the bathroom to pump one time I needed to when she was in the back room and I told her no. I think she got mad.

  2. I just recently moved to a different facility at my company. Prior to moving, my supervisor was very supportive of my breastfeeding and the need for extra breaks to pump. HR provides a room that is quite and private. However, since moving to a different facility, the office is a lot smaller and fewer people there. It is also in a different state. They do not have a place for me to privately pump during the day. I was told when I got there to just “use the restroom”. I refuse to use the restroom that does not lock. I had been pumping out in my car, but when the weather started to warm up, I asked to use an unused office. I was able to do that for about a week and a half when I was approached yesterday and was told that i couldn’t use that room anymore because someone was going to be occupying that room soon and again, to just use the restroom. I’ve now had to contact my HR department to find out what laws I’m covered on and how to handle the situation. Luckily this post has links that I have forwarded onto them to help my case. I just wish more people were supportive of breastfeeding.

  3. I tell you my breastfeeding did not go as planned for a couple reasons one was because he didn’t start out to well, second being I had no choice but going back to work at 6 weeks. Due to this breastfeeding at work was almost impossible because how busy I was. My boss did not care, did not look into the rules and I ended makIng a bathroom room into a lactating room myself by putting a sign up. It was so uncomfortable and people would walk in all the time! I loved breastfeeding but at five months my lil one just started crying every time I would go to feed him. But he is healthy for the time I did get to! Luv my boys. Good luck ladies hope you have better luck!

      • Thank you Madela I want to thank you for making it possible for ‘breastfeeding’ to be so positive in the birthing process compared to when I had my first son 10 years ago. I read online before during and after having my newest baby. I personally want other moms to know the benefit your baby has even if it is only a small amount of time or if you have to do what I did and that was breastfeed and supplement where I was not feeding him enough. Ladies, I encourage you to listen to your babies coos and do not use a pacifier until your baby has latched on properly for awhile. Madela provides Veterans like myself pumps through the VA I am forever grateful for the opportunity being a working mom who wanted to breastfeed her baby as long a possible! In my situation I was not told of this until two weeks before I stopped breastfeeding but I had the luxury of using a used one and that provided what I could when I could pump. Every woman giving birth should consider using Madela products they are so reliable and dependable. Hope my experience helps you, it took me a long time (not sure I am over not being able to breastfeed to age one) to get over how strong my desire to breastfeed and my schedule never made it possible ad pumping was awesome but my schedule always got in the way! If I ever have another baby I will definitely breastfeed!

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