If you are a new mother, you may have bonded with your newborn by breastfeeding him or her. According to the Cleveland Clinic, breastfeeding may also lower your child’s risk of dying as an infant. Still, because you are in the workforce, you simply cannot stay home and breastfeed your child forever.
Luckily, there are many good breast pumps on the market today. Regardless of the pump you choose, your employer has a duty to accommodate your need to express breast milk. That is, you have a right to take pumping breaks in an appropriate space.
Section 1030 of the California Labor Code requires all employers to make reasonable accommodations to new mothers who need to express breast milk. Generally, employers may ask new moms to use their scheduled breaks to pump.
If your need happens outside your normal break time, your employer should allow you to take additional breaks. Your employer probably does not have to pay you during additional break time, however.
In addition to taking extra time, it can take some space to express breast milk effectively. Therefore, your employer must offer you a private area to pump. This area should not be a restroom, though. Furthermore, your employer’s lactation room should have the following features:
- Be clean, safe and free from hazardous or toxic materials
- Have a space to place your pump and other items
- Have a place to sit
- Have a nearby refrigerator to store your milk
Ultimately, while it is normal to experience some anxiety about returning to work, your need to pump during working hours should not cause you any additional stress.