The NY Working Woman's Pocket Guide

Pumping at Work

If you’re a nursing worker in New York, your employer must accommodate your need to pump at work and provide a private space in order for you to express milk. Your employer must give you the time, space and support to pump at work.

Am I covered?

If you are a nursing worker in New York State, you are covered, no matter the employer size and regardless of whether the employer is public or private.

What are my rights when it comes to pumping at work?

Your employer must:

  • Let you pump at work for at least three years after your child’s birth.
  • Allow you to use your paid or unpaid break time or mealtime to pump and allow you to pump every three hours, or more if needed.
  • Give you a clean, private space where you can pump without interruption. (It cannot be a bathroom!)

Note: If it would be incredibly difficult or expensive for your employer to provide a private space, they may not be obligated to provide the space.

What if my employer gives me a hard time because I want to pump at work?

Your employer cannot discriminate or retaliate against you for choosing to pump at work. This can include making hostile comments to you about nursing or demoting you because you need to pump.

What should I do to prepare if I know I want to pump at work?

Before you go back to work, you should tell your employer you plan to express milk when you return. That will give them time to plan for your return.

Do I Have Additional Rights If I Work in New York City?

Yes, if you are a nursing worker in New York City, and work for an employer with 4 or more employees, your employer must provide you with a lactation room that meets specific requirements.

  • The space must be sanitary and shielded from view or intrusion. It cannot be a restroom. It must also have an electrical outlet, char, surface to place pump on and you must have access to a nearby fridge. The space for lactation must be near your work area.

Your employer must hand out a lactation policy to all new employees upon hire.

Note: If providing the space for lactation is incredibly difficult for your employer, your employer must engage in a cooperative dialogue with you. The space need not necessarily be a dedicated lactation room but it must meet the requirements and preference must be given to nursing workers to use the space.

Where can I learn more?

Visit “Pregnant in New York? A Guide to Your Workplace Rights During and After Pregnancy” for a guide to walk you through your workplace rights and options during and after pregnancy.

A couple additional notes:

  • These laws apply to you regardless of your immigration or citizenship status.
  • The information listed in this section does not constitute legal advice. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney about your individual circumstances if you have questions or think your rights as a worker have been violated. 
Scroll to Top