Pumping Breastmilk at Work in New Jersey
New Jersey law does not specifically protect mothers who wish to pump breastmilk when they return to paid employment after childbirth. However, federal law provides some protections that cover New Jersey workers. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide that employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk.” The frequency and duration of “reasonable break time” may vary depending on the individual work situation.
The pumping location must be private place “other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public”. The pumping location may be a space used for other employment purposes that is made available when the breastfeeding employee needs it.
Under the FSLA, the employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time used for pumping. However, if the employer already allows other employees paid break time, the employer must provide paid break time to employees who choose to use their breaks to pump.
This federal pumping law covers employees who are not exempt from section 7 of the FSLA, which includes FSLA’s overtime requirements. Many hourly-wage employees are covered by this law. For more information on who is covered, see http://www.dol.gov/compliance/guide/minwage.htm . Employers that employ fewer than 50 employees may be exempted from this law if they can prove that compliance would impose an undue hardship. When determining if the employer has fewer than 50 employees, all who work for the covered employer, regardless of work site, are counted. The undue hardship exemption is not automatic, but depends on a showing of the difficulty or expense compliance would cause the employer in relation to the employer’s size, financial resources and other factors.
For more information about legal protection for pumping in the workplace, see information from the US Dept. of Labor at http://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/ and resources from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/p/cm/ld/fid=200