Breastfeeding In The Workplace
Hey mom! You’re a busy woman! You’ve just birthed a human being – and that little human depends on you! And if you’re also a mom who’s headed straight back to work, you have a right to know your rights about taking care of your bundle of joy.
Section 7r of the Fair Labor Standards Act – more colloquially known as the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law – has been effective since March 23, 2010. This federal law requires that employers must provide both a break time and a place for most hourly wage-earning and some salaried employees to express breast milk at work. The employers must provide both a reasonable amount of time and a private space other than a bathroom “that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public” for this purpose, and are required to provide such until your baby turns one year old. Unfortunately, if the company you work for has less than 50 employees, this decision becomes subject to employer discretion.
However, even with this information, you might still have questions. So here are some helpful answers!
Are your breaks paid or unpaid?
The Break Time law doesn’t require that you be paid during your pumping breaks, however if your breaks are already paid, your employer should continue to pay you normally during this time. If you require more than your break’s allotted time, you should still be paid for the time
How much time is considered “reasonable”?
While the Break Time law recognizes that the time to express breast milk is different for each mother, on average it takes about 15-20 minutes to pump, plus the time it might take to set and clean up supplies, retrieve and put away the pump, store your milk. This totals in its entirety to about 30 minutes. Dependent on the type, some pumps may require a longer pumping time, but this half hour standard for pumping breaks is usually long enough to accommodate this variance.
What if your state already has another law?
Some states may have additional laws that help protect breastfeeding mothers. To find out if yours is one of them, go to the comprehensive table listed on the United States Breastfeeding Committee website.
Unfortunately, in Pennsylvania, there are no additional protections.
What if your employer refuses to comply?
If your employer refuses to comply with the Break Time for Nursing Mother’s Law, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division by calling the toll-free WHD number 1-800-487-9243 or by visiting www.dol.gov/whd.
Your employer can’t discriminate or fire you for filing a complaint!
If they do, we at KM&A can help. Our firm believes that you have a right to be a working mom. No employer should terminate you from your job just because you need to feed your baby. No one depends on you more than your baby. Know that here at KM&A, you can depend on us to make things right for you both.
Do you need to get in contact with us?
Call us at 412-626-5626 or 215-618-9185.