Many mothers of newborns choose breast feeding as a means of nourishing their child. When they return to work after their child’s birth, they may want to pump breast milk so they can continue feeding their child breast milk. The federal government recognizes this, and therefore amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) so that a working mother’s right to breast feed is protected.
The FLSA and pumping
Under the FLSA employers must provide nursing employees with “reasonable break time” to pump breast milk for one year after the birth of the child.
Nursing employees also must be given a place other than a bathroom to pump breast milk that is private and out-of-sight, so the mother will not be seen or intruded upon by co-workers and the public. This can be either a temporary set up or a permanent set up as long as it meets the privacy requirements under the FLSA.
The FLSA does not require employers to pay workers for taking breaks to pump breast milk. However, if an employer provides all employees with paid breaks and an employee uses that break time to pump breast milk, they must be paid in the same way that other employees are paid during break times.
All employers covered by the FLSA must follow these provisions. If an employer has fewer than 50 employees, they still must follow these requirements unless doing so would present an undue hardship.
Nursing mothers have rights
Nursing mothers have the right to pump breast milk at work when necessary. Employers are required to follow FLSA rules on pumping breast milk in the workplace. If you are a nursing mother and your employer is not giving you the time or space to pump breast milk, you may want to learn more about your rights and what you can do to enforce them.