Equal Pay Day is not a holiday. It is a day to recognize the many structural inequities, from sexism to racism to the maternal wage gap, that result in U.S. women earning 82 cents—and Black women earning 68 cents—for every dollar their white male counterparts make.
Several weeks ago, ABB launched The Working Woman’s Pocket Guide. The guide provides a user-friendly way for women in New York to understand their rights in the workplace, from sexual harassment to equal pay to paid family leave to healthcare coverage, and much more. For the next few weeks, we’re going to bring the guide to you, breaking down each section.
Today, we are spotlighting your right to pump at work. If you’re a nursing mom in New York, you are entitled to reasonable break time to pump at work and employers must make “reasonable efforts” to provide a private space in order for you to express breast milk. Your employer must give you the time, space, and support to pump at work.
Am I covered?
If you are a nursing mom 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.
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.