By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza
The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in the United States to provide a private pumping room to breastfeeding employees that is “not a bathroom.” The space must be private and must be “functional and usable as a space for expressing breast milk.” While the space cannot be a bathroom, employers are not required to make a space that is only for pumping breast milk, which means that the room may be an office or even a storage room.
It should be noted that if there are no employees who are breastfeeding, the employer is not obligated to make such a room available.
We surveyed more than 3,000 women about whether their employer provides a space for breastfeeding mothers.
54 percent say their office does not have a private and easily accessible pumping/lactation or mothers’ room.
Breastfeeding mothers at work will need to pump at the times they would feed their baby if they were at home. In the first few months of a baby’s life, a nursing mother will need to pump or breastfeed eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period.
Breastmilk is food, so it is important that women be given the time and space to safely and appropriately handle breastmilk and their pumping schedule.
Survey of 3,870 women in April 2019.