Employer Breastfeeding Laws by State
Employer Breastfeeding Laws by State

Employer Breastfeeding Laws by State

Breastfeeding, ACA and FLSA

When President Obama made the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the law of the land in 2010, new amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) addressing breastfeeding in the workplace went into effect. The new guidelines require all employers in every state to provide reasonable break time for non-exempt employees to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. Employees who are not entitled to overtime are not covered by this law.

States are Making Changes

While the federal government laid the foundation, 32 states have built upon the basic law. Some states have clarified whether these breaks are paid or unpaid and some have extended how long breastfeeding mothers are protected by the law. Many state laws do cover exempt workers.

Where does your state stand? Use the chart below to find out.

Employer Breastfeeding Laws for The United States:

breastfeeding laws at work

State  Breastfeeding Laws 
Alabama  No employment laws established 
Alaska  No employment laws established 
Arizona  No employment laws established 
Arkansas  Ark. Stat. Ann. § 11-5-116 (2009) requires an employer to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her child and requires an employer to make a reasonable effort to provide a private, secure and sanitary room or other location other than a toilet stall where an employee can express her breast milk. 
California  Cal. Government Code § 12926 states it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory practices in employment or housing accommodations on the basis of sex. The law provides that, for purposes of the act, the term sex also includes breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. (2012 Cal. Stats., Chap. 701; AB 2386)

Cal. Labor Code § 1030 et seq. (2001) provides that employers need to allow a break and provide a room for a mother who desires to express milk in private.  
Colorado  Colo. Rev. Stat. § 8-13.5-101 et seq. (2008) require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to two years after the child's birth. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a place, other than a toilet stall, for the employee to express breast milk in privacy. The law also requires the Department of Labor and Employment to provide, on its website, information and links to other websites where employers can access information regarding methods to accommodate nursing mothers in the workplace. (2008 Colo., Sess. Laws, Chap. 106, HB 1276) 
Connecticut  Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-40w (2001) requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child and to provide accommodations where an employee can express her milk in private. (HF 5656) 
District of Columbia  No employment laws established  
Delaware  Employers in Delaware are required to support breastfeeding employees by providing reasonable break time and an appropriate lactation accommodation. Read the law: Delaware Code Ann. tit. 19, § 710-11. Discrimination in Employment 
Florida  No employment laws established 
Georgia  Ga. Code § 34-1-6 (1999) allows employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. The employer is not required to provide break time if to do so would unduly disrupt the workplace operations. 
Hawaii  Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 378-2 provides that it is unlawful discriminatory practice for any employer or labor organization to refuse to hire or employ, bar or discharge from employment, withhold pay from, demote or penalize a lactating employee because an employee breastfeeds or expresses milk at the workplace. (2000 Hawaii Sess. Laws, Act 227; HB 2774)

2013 Hawaii Sess. Laws. Act. 249 requires specified employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express milk for a nursing child in a location, other than a bathroom, that is sanitary, shielded from view and free from intrusion. The law also requires employers to post notice of the application of this law in a conspicuous place accessible to employees. (SB 532) Employers with under 20 employees need not provide break time if it would cause an undue hardship.  
Idaho  No employment laws in place  
Illinois  Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 68, § 5/2-102 states that "reasonable accommodations" means reasonable modifications or adjustments to the job application process or work environment that enable an applicant or employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or medical or common conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth to be considered for the position the applicant desires or to perform the essential functions of that position (2017 Ill. Laws, P.A. 100).

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 820 § 260 (2001) creates the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act. Requires that employers provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to employees who need to express breast milk. The law also requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express her milk in privacy. (SB 542) 
Indiana  Ind. Code § 5-10-6-2 and § 22-2-14-2 (2008) provide that state and political subdivisions shall provide for reasonable paid breaks for an employee to express breast milk for her infant, make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express breast milk in private and make reasonable efforts to provide for a refrigerator to keep breast milk that has been expressed. The law also provides that employers with more than 25 employees must provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express the employee's breast milk in private and if possible to provide a refrigerator for storing breast milk that has been expressed. (2008 Ind. Acts, P.L. 13, SB 219) 
Iowa  No employment laws established  
Kansas  No employment laws established 
Kentucky  According to the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act, employers with eight or more employees must reasonably accommodate employees with medical conditions related to pregnancy (including breastfeeding). Ky.19 RS SB 18/GA (2019). 
Louisiana  The only workplace mandated by the state law to provide employees with break time and a private room for pumping is public schools.  
Maine  Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 26, § 604 (2009) requires an employer to provide adequate unpaid or paid break time to express breast milk for up to 3 years following childbirth. The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a clean place, other than a bathroom, where an employee may express breast milk in privacy. The employer may not discriminate against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace. (2009 Me. Laws, Chap. 84, HB 280) 
Maryland  No employment laws established  
Massachusetts  Effective in 2018, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers with six or more employees to provide all breastfeeding employees with reasonable break time and a space (other than a bathroom) to pump. In addition, the law stipulates that the lactation space must include electrical outlets, table, and a place to sit. Read the law: Chapter 54 of the Acts of 2017 
Michigan  No employment laws established  
Minnesota  Minn. Stat. § 181.939 (1998, 2014) requires employers to provide daily, unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a bathroom or toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace that is shielded from view, free from intrusion and has an electrical outlet. The law specifies that an employer may not retaliate against an employee for asserting rights or remedies under this act. (1998 SB 2751;1998 SB 2751; 2014 HB 2536) 
Mississippi  Miss. Code Ann. Ch. 1 § 71-1-55 (2006) prohibits against discrimination towards breastfeeding mothers who use lawful break time to express milk 
Missouri  Miss. Code Ann. Ch. 1 § 71-1-55 (2006) prohibits against discrimination towards breastfeeding mothers who use lawful break time to express milk 
Montana  Mont. Code Ann. § 39-2-215 et seq. specifies that employers must not discriminate against breastfeeding mothers and must encourage and accommodate breastfeeding. Requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child and facilities for storage of the expressed milk. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the work place for this activity. 
Nebraska  As of 2015, Nebraska employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide breastfeeding employees with break time and a private space to pump. Read the law: LB 627 
Nevada  Each employer must provide an employee who is the mother of a child under 1 with reasonable break time paid or unpaid for the mother to express milk as needed. Employers must provide a place other than a bathroom that is free from dirt or pollution, protected from the view of others, and free from the intrusion of others where the employee may express breastmilk. Employers with less than 50 employees are not subject to this requirement if it would impose an undue hardship.  
New Hampshire  No employment laws established 
New Jersey  N.J. Rev. Stat. § 10:5-12 (2018) makes it an unlawful employment practice to discriminate based on pregnancy or breastfeeding in compensation or financial terms of employment. 
New Mexico  N.M. Stat. Ann. § 28-20-2 (2007) requires employers to provide a clean, private place, not a bathroom, for employees who are breastfeeding to pump. Also requires that the employee be given breaks to express milk, but does not require that she be paid for this time. 
New York  N.Y. Labor Law § 206-c (2007) states that employers must allow breastfeeding mothers reasonable, unpaid break times to express milk and make a reasonable attempt to provide a private location for her to do so for up to 3 years following childbirth. Prohibits discrimination against breastfeeding mothers. 
North Carolina  No employment laws established  
North Dakota  N.D. Cent. Code § 23-12-17 provides that an employer may use the designation “infant friendly” on its promotional materials if the employer adopts specified workplace breastfeeding policies, including scheduling breaks and permitting work patterns that provide time for expression of breast milk; providing a convenient, sanitary, safe and private location other than a restroom for expressing breast milk; and a refrigerator in the workplace for the temporary storage of breast milk. The law also directs to the state department of health to establish guidelines for employers concerning workplace breastfeeding and infant friendly designations. (2009 SB 2344) 
Ohio  No employment laws established  
Oklahoma  Okla. Stat. tit. 40, § 435 (2006) requires that an employer provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to breastfeed or express breast milk for her child. The law requires the Department of Health to issue periodic reports on breastfeeding rates, complaints received and benefits reported by both working breastfeeding mothers and employers. (HB 2358) 
Oregon  Or. Rev. Stat. § 653.075, § 653.077 and § 653.256 (2007) allow women to have unpaid reasonable breaktime to breastfeed or pump. Allows exception for employers with fewer than 10 employees who can show hardship. (HB 2372) 
Pennsylvania  No employment laws established 
Puerto Rico  3 L.P.R.A. § 1466 and 29 L.P.R.A. § 478a et seq. provide that breastfeeding mothers have the opportunity to breastfeed their babies for half an hour within the full-time working day for a maximum duration of 12 months. 
Rhode Island  R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-13.2-1 (2003) specifies that an employer may provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to breastfeed or express breast milk for her infant child. The law requires the department of health to issue periodic reports on breastfeeding rates, complaints received and benefits reported by both working breastfeeding mothers and employers, and provides definitions. (2003 HB 5507, SB 151; 2008 R.I. Pub. Laws, Chap. 475, HB 7906) 
South Carolina  South Carolina passed the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act in 2018 to provide greater workplace protections for working mothers. The new law mandates that employers with 15 or more employees must ensure their workplaces provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with “medical needs arising from pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions,” including lactation. Employers must provide a private lactation space that’s not a bathroom. Read the law: HB 3865 
South Dakota  No employment laws established  
Tennessee  Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-1-305 (1999) requires employers to provide daily unpaid break time for a mother to express breast milk for her infant child. Employers are also required to make a reasonable effort to provide a private location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the workplace for this activity. (1999 Tenn. Law, Chap. 161; SB 1856) 
Texas  Tex. Health Code Ann. § 165.003 et seq. provides for the use of a "mother-friendly" designation for businesses who have policies supporting worksite breastfeeding. (HB 340) The law provides for a worksite breastfeeding demonstration project and requires the Department of Health to develop recommendations supporting worksite breastfeeding. (HB 359) 
Utah  2012 Utah House Joint Resolution 4 encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and an appropriate space for employees who need to breastfeed or express their milk for their infant children. 
Vermont  Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 305 requires employers to provide reasonable time throughout the day for nursing mothers to express breast milk for three years after the birth of a child. Also requires employers to make a reasonable accommodation to provide appropriate private space that is not a bathroom stall, and prohibits discrimination against an employee who exercises or attempts to exercise the rights provided under this act. (2008 Vt. Acts, Act 144, HB 641; 2013 Vt. Acts, Act 31, HB 99 
Virginia  Va. House Joint Resolution 145 (2002) encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breastfeed or express milk. 
Washington  Wash. Rev. Code § 43.70.640 (2001) allows any employer, governmental and private, to use the designation of "infant-friendly" on its promotional materials if the employer follows certain requirements. (2001 Wash. Laws, Chap. 88) 
West Virginia  No employment laws established
Wisconsin  No employment laws established 
Wyoming  Wyo. House Joint Resolution 5 (2003) encourages breastfeeding and recognizes the importance of breastfeeding to maternal and child health. The resolution also commends employers, both in the public and private sectors, who provide accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. 

Breastfeeding Laws or Not

Regardless of your state’s laws, you should consider adding a breastfeeding policy to your employee handbook. Not only can it help you remain complaint, but employees will find it useful when they return from maternity leave. Keep in mind, having good practices in place that go above and beyond the law can be a powerful benefit to help you recruit and retain talent.


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