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Employees do have a life outside of work. For many, this includes parenthood! In fact, parenthood doesn’t stop when you go to work.during work hours. So, what’s the solution?

In December of 2022, the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Spending Bill was signed into law. This bill includes guidance for employers of nursing/breastfeeding parents to ensure they have a dedicated pumping space during the workday.

From the US Department of Labor…

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk (Section 7 of the FLSA). Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

This PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act is federal law, meaning that employers across the country must comply. While the law went into effect at the date of signing, there is a 120-day delay on the enforcement provision, which means the law realistically goes into effect in April of this year.

As the country waits for the federal law to take root, New York State has had a headstart on provisions for lactating parents. 

The New York law (Senate Bill S4844B) was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul a few weeks before the Omnibus Spending Bill.This state law, like the federal one, requires employers in New York to provide a dedicated space for lactating employees to express breastmilk throughout the workday.

The lactation area must also have access to clean running water, be close to the work area, be well-lit, and be private. It must also have a chair and a clean work surface. This clause guarantees that the lactating employee can pump in comfort and, if necessary, complete work tasks. As a result, these lactation breaks won’t affect the employee’s daily pay.

If possible, the law also states that the dedicated lactation room should include working electrical outlets and refrigeration. 

These laws aim to provide a safe and sanitary environment for employees to perform their duties during the workday. Lactating employees have previously been forced to pump in restroom stalls while at work, while also being subject to wage deductions for these “breaks.”

By passing laws such as the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, legislatures are standing behind parents in the workplace and recognizing that their responsibilities as parents do not end when they clock in each morning.


This article was inspired by a post from HR Dive on December 13, 2022. Read the original here