What workplace protections can you expect after your pregnancy?

Past posts on this blog describe the workplace rights you have as a pregnant mother in California. Yet what about after the delivery of your baby? Maternity leave falls among those workplace protections, giving you the time needed to recover from your delivery and to bond with your new baby. It also helps your body adjust to the demands of being a new mother.

That adjustment continues even after you return to work. Perhaps the most significant element of it is the need to express breastmilk for your little one. Such a task definitely requires privacy; do workplace protection laws mandate that your employer respect that?

Nursing time for new mothers

Indeed they do. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires that your employer not only respect your need to express breastmilk, but that it also provide you with a private location within your workplace to do so. This spot must be somewhere other than a restroom where you can do what you need away from the view of coworkers, customers or other visitors. Your employer must continue to provide you with this accommodation for up to one year following the birth of your child.

Time exclusions and exceptions to the rule

This private time should not count against your daily lunch hour or any required work breaks. However, your employer can ask that it occur “off the clock”. You should also understand that there are certain exceptions to this regulation. If, for example, your company employs less than 50 people, and it can show that allowing you to take time during the day to express breastmilk would cause it to endure an undue hardship, the law does not require that if provide this benefit.