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Employment Protections for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing

  • Federal law stipulates that women who are affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or other medical conditions must be treated in the same way as others, but similarly in their ability to work, for all purposes related to employment, including receiving fringe benefits. See 42 U.S.C. SS 2000e (k). SS 2000e (k).Under Section 7 of Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C.), employers are required to give nursing mothers a reasonable break to express breastmilk for one year following the birth of their child. SS 207) (“FLSA”) Employers must also provide a place for employees to express breastmilk, but not a bathroom. This time is not required to be paid. This amendment does not apply to certain FLSA-exempt workers. The amendment does not override state laws that offer employees greater protections, such as compensated break, exempt employee break time or break time beyond one calendar year following the child’s birth. For more about the FLSA’s break time requirement, see www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/nursing-mothers.

    The District of Columbia, 46 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands all allow breastfeeding in public places, or “public accommodation” for women, even though employers are not required to provide accommodations for employees who breastfeed. These laws are not included in this article.

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