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Breastfeeding Rights in the Workplace

Black Health Matters / Our Health  / Breastfeeding  / Breastfeeding Rights in the Workplace

Breastfeeding Rights in the Workplace

Do you live in a breastfeeding friendly state?

The Nursing Mothers Break Time Provision of the Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for a year after the child is born. Though employers don’t have to pay employees for that break time, they do have to provide a suitable place, other than a bathroom, for Mom to express breast milk.

States can pass laws that give specific protections to breastfeeding women, but they aren’t allowed to reduce the protections provided by federal laws. What’s your state doing to protect or extend workplace breastfeeding rights?

Alabama

No specific law at the state level

Alaska

No specific law at the state level

Arizona

No specific law at the state level

Arkansas

An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break time to an employee who needs to express breast milk, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. The employer must make a reasonable effort to provide employees with a private, safe and clean space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall, to express breast milk.

California

Employers cannot discriminate against women for breastfeeding or breastfeeding-related medical conditions. An employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time to a woman to express breast milk, unless doing so would seriously disrupt the employer’s business. If possible, the break time must occur during the employee’s ordinary break time. The employer must make a reasonable effort to provide the mother with a private space close to her work area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

Colorado

An employer must provide a nursing employee reasonable daily unpaid break time, or allow her to use paid break or meal time, or both, to express breast milk for up to two years after childbirth. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with a private space close to her work area, other than a toilet stall, to express milk. This requirement applies to all employers.

Connecticut

An employee has the right to express milk or breastfeed during her meal or break time. It is illegal to discriminate against or discipline an employee for exercising this right. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with a private space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall or bathroom, to express breast milk, unless doing so would impose significant difficulty or expense on the employer.

Delaware

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy-related conditions, including breastfeeding, and are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have pregnancy-related limitations. Such reasonable accommodations may include the provision of break time and appropriate facilities for expressing breast milk.

District of Columbia

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against women on the basis of breastfeeding and pregnancy-related medical conditions. An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break periods for an employee to express breast milk. If the employer already provides a paid or unpaid break period to the employee, such time shall run concurrently with the required break period. An employer may be exempted from this requirement if it shows compliance would create an undue hardship. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with a sanitary, private space close to her work location where she can express milk.

Florida

No specific law at the state level

Georgia

Employers are allowed, but not required, to provide break time and a location for mothers to express breast milk.

Hawaii

An employer may not fire, refuse to hire, withhold pay from, demote or penalize an employee for breastfeeding or expressing milk at the workplace. An employer must provide: (1) reasonable break time for a nursing mother to express breast milk for one year after the birth of her child, and (2) a private space, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express milk, for one year after the birth of her child. Employers with less than 20 employees are exempt from these requirements if they can show compliance would impose significant difficulty or expense on their business.

Idaho

No specific law at the state level

Illinois

An employer must provide reasonable daily unpaid break time for an employee to express breast milk, unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s business. If possible, such break time must run concurrently with the employee’s ordinary break time. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with a private space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall, where they can express milk.

Indiana

All employers with 25 or more employees must, to the extent reasonably possible, provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express milk during any time away from the employee’s assigned duties. Such employers must also, to the extent reasonably possible, provide a cold storage space for employees to keep expressed milk, or allow employees to provide their own portable refrigerator for such a purpose. Public employees receive supplemental protections. Public employers must provide reasonable daily paid break time, to run concurrently with any other break time, for employees to express breast milk, unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s operations. Public employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide a private room near an employee’s work area, other than a toilet stall, where she can express milk.

Iowa

No specific law at the state level

Kansas

No specific law at the state level

Kentucky

No specific law at the state level

Louisiana

The only state-specific law applies to employees of public schools. Louisiana school boards are required to provide nursing employees with a private room to express breast milk, and a reasonable amount of break time to do so, for up to one year after the birth of the child. If possible, the break time must occur during the employee’s ordinary break time; any additional leave will be unpaid.

Maine

Employers may not discriminate against employees who choose to express breast milk in the workplace. Employers must provide adequate unpaid break time, or allow an employee to use her paid break time, to express breast milk for up to three years following childbirth. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a clean, private place, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express breast milk. This applies to all employers.

Maryland

No specific law at the state level

Massachusetts

No specific law at the state level

Michigan

No specific law at the state level

Minnesota

An employer must provide a reasonable amount of daily unpaid break time to employees to express breast milk, unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s business. The break time must, if possible, run concurrent to break time already provided to employees. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a private space, other than a bathroom, close to the employee’s work area and with access to an electrical outlet, to express breast milk. This applies to all employers.

Mississippi

An employer may not forbid an employee from breastfeeding or pumping during her break.

Missouri

No specific law at the state level

Montana

It is illegal for any public employer in Montana to discriminate against an employee who expresses breast milk in the workplace. Every public employer must have written policies that encourage and accommodate breastfeeding and ensure employees are provided with adequate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing milk. Public employers must make reasonable efforts to provide a space close to the employee’s work area, other than a toilet stall, to express breast milk. Additionally, public employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time to employees who need to express breast milk, unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s operations.

Nebraska

No specific law at the state level

Nevada

No specific law at the state level

New Hampshire

No specific law at the state level

New Jersey

No specific law at the state level

New Mexico

Employers are required to provide nursing mothers with a clean and private space near the employee’s workspace, other than a bathroom, to use a breast pump. They are also required to provide such employees with flexible break times.

New York

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees who express breast milk in the workplace. They must also provide reasonable unpaid break time, or allow employees to use paid break or meal time, for employees to express breast milk for their nursing children, for up to three years following the child’s birth. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with a private space near their work area where they can express milk. This applies to all employers.

North Carolina

No specific law at the state level

North Dakota

No specific law at the state level

Ohio

No specific law at the state level

Oklahoma

No specific law at the state level

Oregon

Upon receiving reasonable notice, employers are required to provide reasonable unpaid rest periods for female employees to express milk. Unless otherwise agreed upon, these breaks must be 30 minutes long during each four-hour shift, and taken somewhere in the middle of the shift. If feasible, the employee is to use her otherwise provided meal or rest breaks for these purposes. Employers are not required to do so if it would impose an undue hardship on their business operations. Employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide a private location near the employee’s work area, other than a restroom, for her to express milk. These requirements apply only to employers with 25 or more employees in Oregon, and for employees breastfeeding their children 18 months old or younger.

Pennsylvania

No specific law at the state level

Rhode Island

Employers are required to make reasonable efforts to provide a private, secure and sanitary place close to an employee’s work area, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express milk or breastfeed. This applies to all employers.

South Carolina

No specific law at the state level

South Dakota

No specific law at the state level

Tennessee

Employers are required to provide reasonable daily unpaid break time to employees who need to express breast milk for their infant children unless doing so would unduly disrupt the employer’s business. If possible, this break shall run concurrently with any other break time already provided. Employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with a private space close to their work area, other than a toilet stall, to express breast milk. This law applies to all employers.

Texas

No specific law at the state level

Utah

No specific law at the state level

Vermont

Employers must provide nursing employees reasonable compensated or uncompensated time throughout the day for nursing mothers to express breast milk, as well as a private space other than a bathroom in which to do so, for up to three years after the birth of the child, unless doing so would constitute a substantial disruption to the employer’s business. Employers cannot discriminate against employees who exercise this right.

Virginia

Employers with more than five but fewer than 15 employees may not terminate a female employee on the basis of lactation.

Washington

No specific law exists at the state level

West Virginia

No specific law at the state level

Wisconsin

No specific law at the state level

Wyoming

No specific law at the state level

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BHM Edit Staff