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What rights do nursing mothers have in the workplace?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Employment Law For Employees |

If you are a nursing mother in the workforce, you should know that your employer must extend you certain rights. For instance, certain federal laws protect nursing mothers when it comes to break time for the purposes of expressing milk.

Being aware of these laws and what they mean can help you address any issues with your employer. Here are some basics regarding nursing breaks to get you started.

Must all employers provide nursing breaks?

All employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must offer nursing breaks to employees. However, some small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may not be subject to laws depending on the circumstances. This is the case if the employer can establish undue hardship if it complies with the nursing laws. Undue hardship means that complying with the law will negatively impact the employer in some way, such as by causing a significant loss of revenue.

What obligations do employers have?

For those employers included in the FLSA without concerns about undue hardships, certain conditions must apply to their nursing break protocols. For instance, employers must provide break time for nursing as frequently as a worker needs it for up to one year after the birth of the employee’s child. Additionally, employers must provide a private area for the purposes of nursing breaks that is not within a bathroom.

Must employers pay for nursing breaks?

It depends on whether the employer offers paid breaks generally. If so, the employer must provide payment for breaks as it would normally. Employers must also pay for breaks if the nursing employee engages in work tasks while taking their nursing break.

Many employers follow pertinent laws regarding nursing breaks without issue. In the event an employee faces a denial for nursing breaks, they can follow up with the Wage and Hour Division.