Many Atlanta mothers returning to work after giving birth want to continue breastfeeding at work but wonder about finding the time to pump on the job and if they have any rights to do so.
In an effort to encourage breastfeeding and protect women who want to take time out to pump or breastfeed, the Department of Labor recently enacted the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law requiring certain employers to provide time out for breastfeeding. Many states also have laws providing breastfeeding rights at work.
While the DOL is working on fine-tuning the guidelines surrounding this regulation, a few important rules exist.
First, the law requires that companies with at least 50 employees must provide a “reasonable time and space” – not a bathroom – to pump milk until the baby is a year old.
The DOL has requested comments from interested parties to determine how much time is reasonable and what the space should look like.
Also, the breastfeeding law was passed as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As a result, anyone covered by the FLSA is covered by this law. This means that the government is serious about protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed.
Nancy Leppink, the acting deputy administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division is hopeful that all employees will soon be covered by this law. The law comes at a time of heightened awareness about the health benefits of breastfeeding. In fact, the U.S. Surgeon General recently issued a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” urging all employers to “work toward high-quality lactation support programs.”
If you have any questions or are a nursing mother returning to work and have been denied the time or space to breastfeed or pump, contact one of our dedicated Atlanta employee’s rights attorneys. We have years of experience ensuring employees are treated fairly and justly at work.