It wasn’t very long ago that women had to choose between a career and being a mom. Today, over 65% of moms in the US work either full or part-time, while 40% of mothers are also the primary source of income for their family. Maternity leave in the US still pales in comparison to other industrialized countries, but there are laws in place to protect the rights of working moms and provide them with encouragement to continue breastfeeding. If you’re planning to go back to work after your little one arrives, educate yourself on the following protections and talk to your employer about breastfeeding to make certain that your rights are honored.
- Your employer must provide a reasonable break for you to pump for one year after your baby’s birth. However, your employer is not required to compensate you during these breaks.
- Your employer must provide a private space, other than a bathroom, for you to pump. This ensures moms have a comfortable and relaxing environment, conducive to breastfeeding success. This room doesn’t need to be reserved only for breastfeeding moms to use, but it does need to be available whenever you need it and also needs to be free from intrusion by coworkers and the public.
Unfortunately, your employer may be exempt from these laws if:
- The company you work for has less than 50 employees and can show that compliance with the provision would cause too much hardship.
- Your company is not covered by the FLSA
However, if your company falls into one of these exempt categories, your state’s laws may offer you additional protection. In fact, 24 US states have specific laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace.
How does your employer help support your breastfeeding goals?