What rights do breastfeeding mothers have?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Employment Law

Most women will return to work within a couple of months after having a baby. However, mothers who breastfeed will usually be far from finished doing it at that time. For this reason, they will need to be able to pump breastmilk while at work.

In the past, women had very few rights when it came to pumping. They would often be regulated to the bathroom or other uncomfortable area to do it. According to the Minnesota Statutes, the law now protects breastfeeding mothers and provides them rights when in a work environment.

Right to pump

Working mothers have the right to breaks for pumping breastmilk. An employer must provide reasonable breaks throughout the workday unless providing a break would disrupt business.

Place to pump

The employer must also provide a space that is not a bathroom and that offers privacy for a woman to express milk. This area should be closed off and not be a space in which other workers may intrude. It also must have an electrical outlet.

Other rights

Employers cannot reduce pay for taking breaks to pump breastmilk. It is retaliation if an employer tries to take adverse actions against any employee exercising her rights under the law to express breastmilk.

Situations for breastfeeding mothers who work have changed substantially over the past couple of decades. Women now have the ability to be comfortable if they choose to go back to work and continue to feed their child breastmilk. The law in Minnesota applies to all breastfeeding mothers for up to 12 months after they give birth.