Nursing In Public Laws
From National Conference of State Legislatures
From National Conference of State Legislatures
Forty-five states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)
Twenty-eight states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands exempt breastfeeding from public indecency laws. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.)
Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.)
Twelve states and Puerto Rico exempt breastfeeding mothers from jury duty. (California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia.)
Five states and Puerto Rico have implemented or encouraged the development of a breastfeeding awareness education campaign. (California, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri and Vermont.)
Several states have unique laws related to breastfeeding.
Here are two pages that list all the Federal and State laws pertaining to breastfeeding.
Pumping At Work Laws
This fact sheet provides general information on the break time requirement for nursing mothers in the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), which took effect when the PPACA was signed
into law on March 23, 2010 (P.L. 111-148). This law amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards
Employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
The FLSA requirement of break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk does not preempt State
laws that provide greater protections to employees (for example, providing compensated break time,
providing break time for exempt employees, or providing break time beyond 1 year after the child’s
Time and Location of Breaks
Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time to express milk as frequently as
needed by the nursing mother. The frequency of breaks needed to express milk as well as the duration of each break will likely vary.
A bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location under the Act. The location provided must be functional as a space for expressing breast milk. If the space is not dedicated to the nursing mother’s use, it must be available when needed in order to meet the statutory requirement. A space temporarily created or converted into a space for expressing milk or made available when needed by the nursing mother is sufficient provided that the space is shielded from view, and free from any intrusion from co-workers and the public.
Coverage and Compensation
Only employees who are not exempt from section 7, which includes the FLSA’s overtime pay
requirements, are entitled to breaks to express milk. While employers are not required under the FLSA
to provide breaks to nursing mothers who are exempt from the requirements of Section 7, they may be
obligated to provide such breaks under State laws.
Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the FLSA break time requirement if
compliance with the provision would impose an undue hardship. Whether compliance would be an
undue hardship is determined by looking at the difficulty or expense of compliance for a specific
employer in comparison to the size, financial resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s business.
All employees who work for the covered employer, regardless of work site, are counted when
determining whether this exemption may apply.
Employers are not required under the FLSA to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the
purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an
employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other
employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the
employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time
applies. See WHD Fact Sheet #22, Hours Worked under the FLSA.
FLSA Prohibitions on Retaliation
Section 15(a)(3) of the FLSA states that it is a violation for any person to “discharge or in any other
manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted
or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to
testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.”
Employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Complaints
made to the Wage and Hour Division are protected, and most courts have ruled that internal complaints
to an employer are also protected.
Any employee who is “discharged or in any other manner discriminated against” because, for instance,
he or she has filed a complaint or cooperated in an investigation, may file a retaliation complaint with
the Wage and Hour Division or may file a private cause of action seeking appropriate remedies
including, but not limited to, employment, reinstatement, lost wages and an additional equal amount as