Women employees make up a large percentage of the workforce in California. Many of these women are new mothers that breastfeed their children. Finding a private place to express milk in the workplace can be challenging for families.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers across the nation must provide nursing mothers with the following:
- Reasonable breaks to express breast milk
- Privacy when expressing breast milk
If nursing employees require additional breaks solely for the purpose of expressing milk, employers must provide this extra time. The space employers provide to mothers must offer privacy and cannot be a restroom.
California law takes these rights even further
Individual states also have statutes addressing the need for nursing moms to express milk. The section below contains six details from the California lactation accommodation section of the law.
- State employers are not required to pay workers for any extra breaks necessary for pumping milk.
- State employees may also use their scheduled and compensated break periods to pump breast milk.
- Nursing mothers in California do not need to have a doctor’s note to express milk at work.
- Employee lactation areas in the state must contain a table or surface, seating and electricity.
- State employers must provide a sink and running water in reasonable proximity to the mom’s workstation.
- State employers must provide nursing mothers with a refrigerator to store expressed milk.
In some workplaces with fewer than 50 workers, employers may be exempt from providing the lactation accommodations discussed above. However, employers should become familiar with the requirements to avoid violating the rights of nursing mothers.
If you are a nursing mother or an Irvine, California, employer, it is wise to learn more about these and other state employment laws. Nursing moms denied access to their rights may benefit from professional guidance.