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What rights do nursing mothers have at work?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Employment Law |

Women who are nursing a baby who is under 1 year old have specific rights that are based in federal law. The Fair Labor Standards Act Section 7 requires that employers meet certain requirements for these mothers. These provisions apply to any employee who isn’t exempt from overtime payment laws and who work for an employer covered by the FLSA.

The employers have to provide the mother with reasonable breaks during which she can express breastmilk. There isn’t a set frequency or duration for these breaks since this will vary greatly. Typically, she will need to express milk more frequently when the baby is younger, and her milk supply is being established. The time between sessions should increase as the baby gets older.

In addition to having to provide the break time for the mother, they also have to provide a suitable location for her to express milk. This has to be somewhere other than the bathroom. It must be a private area where she is free of intrusions and can’t be seen. The space doesn’t have to be a permanent space; however, it must be one that’s readily available when she needs to use it.

There is an exception to these requirements for employers who employ fewer than 50 individuals. The exception only applies if the employer can show that complying with the FLSA’s terms would create an undue hardship for the business. Any employee who feels that her rights under this section of the FLSA have been violated should learn about her options. This may include legal action against the company.