Whether you’re pregnant and making preparations for nursing after your baby is born or whether you’re already nursing, there are some things you should know about the relationship between nursing and your job. There are federal laws in place that provide for the opportunity for working mothers to be able to continue to breast feed while working.
Here are the highlights of how the law protects your right to nurse:
- Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”) made changes to fair labor standards for nursing moms. This Act went into law on March 23, 2010.
- Under the law, employers are required to provide a private place other than a bathroom that an employee may use to express breast milk.
- The location has to be private and it has to be functional as a good space to express breast milk. If the space is also used for other purposes, it must be made available to the nursing mother in order to express her milk.
- The space is required to be shielded from view and cannot be subject to intrusion from other employees, employers or the general public.
- The employer is required to provide that place for a full year after the child’s birth, or until the employee no longer needs to express the breast milk.
- Not only do employers have to provide a place for the mother to express her breast milk, they also have to provide reasonable break time to do so.
- Employers that have under 50 employees aren’t required to provide break time if doing so would cause hardship to the business. The business must be able to specifically demonstrate that it would cause a hardship, however.
- Employers don’t have to pay nursing mothers for the breaks used to express breast milk. However, if a nursing mother already has compensated breaks and she uses those as time to express her breast milk, she will be compensated.
- Finally, the federal regulations don’t supersede state laws that provide even greater privileges and protections to nursing mothers.
If your employer doesn’t follow these regulations, you should consider talking to your officials or even an attorney about the situation.