Nursing Moms at Work
Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide new moms with reasonable breaks and a private place -- not the bathroom -- to pump breast milk for her nursing child, during working hours for 1 year after the child's birth.
Who is eligible?
Employers who are covered by the FLSA must comply with the nursing breaks, unless they have fewer than 50 employees and can show that making accommodations would create an undue hardship.
Are state laws overruled by the federal law?
The federal law does not overrule state laws that provide greater protection to employees (for example: compensated nursing breaks, nursing breaks for exempt employees, nursing breaks beyond 1 year after the child's birth).
What must an employer provide to nursing moms?
Employers should provide a reasonable amount of break time and a private place that is shielded from view and free from intrusion by coworkers or the public.
How long will a nursing break take?
The frequency and duration of the breaks can vary. Employers should remember that it generally takes 15 to 20 minutes to pump. Moms also need time to get to and from the space and to set up. The breaks should be ideally scheduled during downtime. For example: restaurant workers could plan to pump in between peak meal times.
Is break time paid time?
Employers are not required under the FLSA to pay nursing mothers for nursing breaks. However where employers already provide compensated breaks, nursing mothers can use that break time to pump and they must be compensated the same way that other employees are compensated during break time.
Do employers need to create a permanent, dedicated space for nursing mothers?
No, a temporarily space can be created, provided that the space is shielded from view, and free from intrusion from co-workers and public. This space cannot be the bathroom.