Returning to work after having a child can be a big transition, especially if you are breastfeeding. Nursing parents need break time and space for pumping breast milk at work, and possibly other changes or accommodations to allow them to stay healthy and continue breastfeeding while doing their job.
However, too many mothers are forced to wean their babies early, endure painful health complications, or even lose their jobs. Only 40 percent of nursing moms have access to adequate break time and a private space to express breast milk while at work under the federal Affordable Care Act protections. 60 percent of women report stopping breastfeeding earlier than they would like to.
Additional state and local legal protections also exist to help mothers maintain their milk supply while away from their children. But in order for these laws to be meaningful, women must know about these rights and be empowered to assert them when they are violated. No one knows this better than former ABB client Natalie, who was told by her employer that she would have to pump in whichever see-through glass office was available and cover up with a sheet. However, when she made her employer aware of her rights under the New York Labor Law and NYC Human Rights Law to a clean, private space to express breast milk, she was immediately accommodated.
That’s why we created “Talking to Your Boss About Your Pump,” a state-by-state guide that includes a summary of legal protections in each state, as well as practical tips for how to talk to your boss about breastfeeding accommodations and mapping out a plan for your needs at work.
So help us celebrate National Breastfeeding Month this August by making sure the expecting and nursing parents in your life know their rights. And, as always, we’re here for anyone who has questions or concerns about their breastfeeding rights at work. If your employer is giving you a hard time about breastfeeding, or if you have any questions about the laws in your state, call our free, confidential legal hotline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.