Section 206-C of the New York State Labor Law was passed in 2007. This law, in short, protects a nursing mother from being discriminated against because of the fact that she is expressing milk in the workplace and requires that all employers in the state allow nursing mothers the time to express breast milk (pump) for up to THREE years (THREE!) following the birth of their child.
Employers, the law says, must make reasonable efforts to provide a room close to where the employee works so that they may pump in private. Most importantly, the room cannot be a restroom or a toilet stall. This is a relief to all those nursing mothers who have been told time and time again – you need to go somewhere private? what about the bathroom? No thank you. Would you like to eat food that was cooked in the bathroom? No – you wouldn’t? Well…neither does a baby.
Employers also must give reasonable unpaid break time to nursing mothers – the breaks should not be farther apart than three hours (if that is what the mother asks for).
The Department of Labor guidelines on how to interpret Section 206-C are very detailed, and are definitely worth a look. It is a wonderful thing that New York State has created this law which helps women find the elusive work life balance – the ability to continue to breast feed their child while remaining productive in the work force.