The Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently published a blog post from MomsRising on the WomensHealth.gov website about pumping at work. Below is a summary, you can view the full article here: 8 Things You Need to Know About Pumping at Work
1. Find out if you are covered by the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law.” The law applies to most hourly and some salaried employees. If you are not covered by the federal law, you may be covered by a state law. If you have any questions, you can call the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division at 866-487-9243 and ask for the Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor.
2. It is not required by law for pumping breaks to be paid. If you already have paid breaks, you can use those to pump your milk. Any extra time you use may not be paid by your employer.
3. The law requires employers to provide time and space each time you need to express milk.
4. The space to pump should not be a bathroom and should be completely private. There doesn’t have to be a permanent dedicated private space.
5. There are many creative space options, such as an unused office, meeting room or storage closet (as long as these can be made private for the time you need).
6. Under the Affordable Care Act, you should be able to obtain a free breast pump through your insurance. Find more information here: Breastfeeding Benefits. Any breastfeeding supplies you purchase on your own are tax deductible.
7. There are many reasons why your employer should support pumping at work. Breastfeeding helps lower health care costs, employees miss fewer time off because their babies are healthier, and less money is spent on hiring and training new employees if companies can keep their best employees by offering breastfeeding support.
8. Employers are usually happy to provide the support you need. A few tips for talking to your employer include: making the case (explain how breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for you and your baby), show how meeting your breastfeeding needs will help the company, be prepared and think of any concerns your employer might have and how you can address them, and show appreciation for support you receive.