Employers must make certain accommodations for their staff, including nursing mothers. As stated by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires workplaces to allow break time for nursing mothers, for the purpose of pumping breast milk for their newborn babies.
Employers must also make other accommodations regarding nursing breaks, or they can face legal action. If you are a nursing mother, you must know what rights you are afforded at work. This knowledge ensures you can take the proper actions should your rights be denied.
According to the law, employers must provide a reasonable amount of break time for at least one year after a child has been born. There are no stipulations regarding the frequency of breaks, as this will vary from woman to woman. As a result, employers must provide as many breaks as necessary for the mother to express milk during the work day.
Location of breaks
Employers must also provide a private area for breaks, one that is secluded from other staff as well as customers or clients. This private area cannot be a bathroom, even if the bathroom is private. The area must be freely available whenever it is needed by the nursing mother. Employers can create a dedicated space, or they can arrange for temporary accommodations, provided the space meets other requirements.
Nursing breaks do not need to be compensated according to the law. However, if the worker is still on duty when the break occurs they must be compensated. Additionally, if a worker expresses breast milk during a break that would normally be paid, they must be compensated the same.