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Rights for Nursing Employees

April 9th, 2020

Almost 84 percent of babies in the United States are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Considering the percentage of new mothers who return to work in the first six months after the birth of their child, that is quite an incredible statistic.

Laws protecting the rights of breastfeeding mothers have a lot to do with the prevalence of breastfeeding, which has significant benefits for the baby and mother. If an employer is violating these laws, discrimination against nursing employees should be reported.

Federal Employment Laws for Breastfeeding

As part of 2010’s Affordable Care Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to provide certain accommodations that employers must make available to nursing mothers while also addressing specific concerns for employers; this includes:

  • Break time: The law mandates that employees be afforded reasonable break time as necessary to express milk for a child until the child’s first birthday.
  • Compensation: Compensation for the time used for this purpose is not a requirement under the law.
  • Space to express milk: The law requires that the employer provide a place for the employee to express breast milk. The space must be a private, clean area, and separate from the bathroom.
  • Small business exemption: An employer with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt, as these requirements may present an undue hardship for the business.
  • State laws rule: Many states have laws that require greater accommodations to breastfeeding employees. In these cases, the state law supersedes federal regulations.

General Breastfeeding Laws

Throughout the country, laws specifically protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in any public or private space. Thirty states, including Pennsylvania, specifically exempt breastfeeding from laws regarding public indecency. Additional states have individual laws that regulate the provision of private and sanitary breastfeeding spaces in shopping malls, airports, and public government buildings. Other states make accommodations for breastfeeding students in schools or incarcerated inmates.

Some states provide tax exemptions on breastfeeding equipment, while others regulate childcare facilities, prohibiting them from discriminating against breastfed babies, mandating the provision of space for mothers to breastfeed or express milk, providing refrigeration storage for breast milk, training staff in handling human milk, and otherwise promoting breastfeeding.

Delaware County Employment Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Advocate for Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace

Employers of breastfeeding mothers have certain legal obligations to support their employees’ breastfeeding efforts. If your employer is in violation of federal or state laws, contact one of our Delaware County employment discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. immediately. We can help you fight for your right to breastfeed your infant. For more information, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we represent clients throughout Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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