Returning to work after having a baby can be challenging for new mothers, especially when it comes to balancing their job responsibilities with their breastfeeding needs. Fortunately, many countries and states have enacted laws that provide breastfeeding accommodations for working moms. In this blog post, we'll delve into the legal protections available to breastfeeding employees and provide practical tips for navigating breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace.
In the United States, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) includes the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision. This law requires employers to provide:
- Reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk for up to one year after the birth of their child
- A private, non-bathroom space shielded from view and free from intrusion for employees to express breast milk
It's important to note that these federal requirements only apply to non-exempt (hourly) employees. However, many states have enacted additional laws that provide greater protections or extend the requirements to exempt (salaried) employees. To understand your rights, research your state's specific breastfeeding accommodation laws.
- Know your rights: Before returning to work, familiarize yourself with the federal and state laws that protect your right to breastfeed or express milk during work hours. This knowledge will empower you to advocate for your needs.
- Communicate with your employer: Prior to your return, discuss your breastfeeding needs with your employer or human resources department. Provide them with information about the applicable laws and work together to develop a plan for accommodating your needs.
- Be flexible and collaborative: While the law protects your right to breastfeed or express milk at work, it's important to maintain open communication with your employer and be willing to collaborate on finding solutions that meet both your needs and the needs of your workplace.
- Consider your pumping schedule: Plan your pumping sessions around your work schedule and coordinate with your employer if you need specific break times. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust your pumping schedule as your baby grows and their feeding needs change.
- Prepare for your pumping sessions: Ensure you have all the necessary supplies, such as a breast pump, storage containers, and a cooler bag to store expressed milk. Also, consider bringing items like a nursing cover or privacy screen if your designated pumping space lacks privacy.
- Seek support from your colleagues: Share your breastfeeding plans with your coworkers to help create a supportive work environment. They may have valuable advice or resources to share, and their understanding can make your transition back to work smoother.
Breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace are crucial for supporting new moms as they return to work. By understanding your legal rights and proactively communicating with your employer, you can create a plan that enables you to balance your job responsibilities with your breastfeeding needs. Remember that you are not alone in this journey, and seeking support from your colleagues and fellow breastfeeding moms can help make the transition back to work smoother and more enjoyable.
Are you a working mother struggling to find a suitable place to pump at work? You might be eligible for compensation.
If your employer has neglected to provide a clean, safe space for you to express breast milk, your rights may have been violated, and you could have a valid claim.ALL STATES – BREASTFEEDING ACCOMMODATIONS IN THE WORKPLACE
The law mandates that employers must offer a space, separate from a restroom, for nursing mothers to express breast milk. Suppose you breastfed your child within the past 3 years, and your employer failed to provide a clean, secure space for pumping. In that case, we encourage you to complete the form below to connect with legal professionals for a fast, confidential, and risk-free consultation. A brief intake phone call will allow them to determine if a lawsuit can be filed and compensation pursued on your behalf, should you qualify.