A breastfeeding policy at work refers to the provisions for breastfeeding employees. Employers are starting to recognize that breastfeeding has many benefits for nursing mothers and their babies. A proper breastfeeding policy can help show the company supports their employees whenever they need it. The federal Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide basic provisions for breastfeeding employees at work. These provisions include time for nursing mothers to express milk and a private space each time they need to pump. Learn more about what the law says about breasting feeding rights at work.
Breastfeeding Policy & Purpose
Since 2010, the federal “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law has legally protected working mothers who wish to express breast milk during their workday. If you’re not covered by the federal law, you might be covered under your state law. Be sure to check in with your HR representative at work or read up on your state’s breastfeeding rights at work.
A: Who is covered?
This law applies to hourly employees as well as some salaried employees.
B: Company Responsibilities – Lactation Space & Break Time
The Break Time for Nursing Mothers federal law requires an employer to provide a reasonable amount of break time to pump and a private space (not a toilet stall or restroom) for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. The employer must also assist in providing a positive environment in support of breast pumping at work. Notes: Employers are not required to create a permanent lactation space for breastfeeding employees.
C: Employee Responsibilities
The nursing mother is responsible for requesting and arranging with their supervisor appropriate and reasonable break time or flexible scheduling for breast pumping. Employee must carry their own pump, adapter, and other breast pumping accessories as well as a smaller cooler or insulated bag.
D: Enforcement of Law
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for enforcing the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” Law. For assistance, call the toll-free WHD number 1-800-487-9243.
E: Grievance following discrimination
To make sure the breastfeeding policy works well, we suggest both employer and employee to record break times. This can be done with the help of a timekeeping system or through communication between the supervisor-manager and employee. Employees who have complaints about the policy, the room or their coworkers can do it using one of our grievance guides.