If you are a new mother, you probably have some concerns about balancing motherhood with your return to work. You should not have to worry about your choice to breastfeed your infant, though.
Along with other protections for pregnant workers and new mothers, New York law requires employers to allow nursing workers to express breast milk at work. Specifically, your employer must provide a time and a place for you to pump.
Regular break time
New mothers may need to express milk as often as every two or three hours during the workday. If you work a long shift, you may need several breaks. You may also need additional time until you learn how to use a breast pump efficiently.
Regardless of either the size or nature of your employer’s business, your manager should give you reasonable unpaid break time to express milk. You may also choose to pump during paid breaks or mealtimes. This break mandate extends until your child turns three.
A private pumping area
New York law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a private space for expressing breast milk. If your employer falls within the coverage of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, though, providing a private space to pump is a legal requirement. To comply with federal law, this space cannot be a restroom.
A prohibition against discrimination
Finally, your employer cannot take adverse employment action against you because of your decision to breastfeed or to pump. Even if your manager engages in subtle discrimination, such as changing your job duties, he or she may be either intentionally or inadvertently running afoul of both state and federal law.