Not only do pregnant workers have rights when at their job, but new mothers returning to the workplace after giving birth to their child also have access to certain rights.
Understanding these rights and entitlements is a crucial part of properly adjusting to work-life flow after starting a family.
Amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act
The U.S. Department of Labor discusses new moms and their rights at work. This includes The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2010, this act amended the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, including entitlements for nursing mothers.
Under this amendment, employers need to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time in order to express breast milk for their child. They have a right to do so for up to a year after the birth of the child, and this applies to any time the mother expresses a need to pump milk.
The Act also states that employers must provide mothers a place shielded from public intrusion or viewing and a place secluded from other co-workers. It specifies that this room cannot be a bathroom.
The extent of protections
Federal law does not provide payment during these pumping breaks, but it is possible for nursing mothers to use their paid break time to pump.
Unfortunately, state law does not provide any additional protections. Further, mothers who are part of a business with under 50 employees are not guaranteed pumping time due to “undue hardship” that it might inflict on the employer.