Giving birth to a child is an exciting experience for many mothers. Many take time off work to bond with their new baby. However, that excitement often turns to stress when women plan to return to work. Many workplaces are not family friendly and many employees face discrimination when they have families. If a woman is breastfeeding, she may have concerns about how she will continue to breastfeed once she returns to work.
Women should know that New York has laws in place that protect a woman’s right to breastfeed. Under NYS Labor Law Section 206-C Breastfeeding in the Workplace Accommodation Law (2007), an employer cannot discriminate against an employee who breastfeeds or pumps milk at work. This law guarantees women the right to pump milk for three years after giving birth.
Lactation Room Requirements
Under the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law, breastfeeding women have the right to pump milk in a place that is not a bathroom. It must be completely private, with no windows allowing someone to look inside. While employers are not legally required to create a permanent space for breastfeeding employees, they must have a space available each time the employee needs it.
This law applies to all employers in New York, regardless of their size. However, if a business with fewer than 50 employees does not meet the lactation room requirements, and a breastfeeding employee files a complaint, the business can apply for an undue hardship exemption. To qualify for an exemption, the employer must be able to prove that creating a lactation room would cause “significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.” Companies are legally required to comply with the law until they obtain an exemption from the Department of Labor.
Break Time Requirements
The law requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time, taking into consideration that the process of pumping milk is different for every mother. Some pump more often throughout the day, while others take longer to pump at each session. Employers are obligated to provide breastfeeding mothers with time and space to pump milk as needed. New York law does not require pumping breaks to be paid, but if you use paid breaks to pump milk, then you will be paid as usual.
Contact a New York Pregnancy Discrimination Attorney
Pregnancy and childbirth is an exciting time, particularly for new parents. Sometimes, unfortunately, employers can make things difficult for females employees returning to the workplace after giving birth. Many women choose to breastfeed their babies and should not be disciplined, harassed, or condemned for doing so.
If your employer is not following state laws when it comes to breastfeeding in the workplace, act quickly to protect your legal rights. The experienced New York employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. We understand the laws that apply to employers and will inform you of your rights. To schedule a consultation, call our office at (347) -464-8694.