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Can new mothers have extra breaks at work to collect breast milk?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Employment Law |

Breastfeeding is an important part of motherhood, providing essential nutrients and antibodies to newborns. For working mothers in Ohio, balancing the demands of their jobs and the need to pump breast milk can pose a challenge.

The good news is that state laws and regulations provide support for new mothers in the workplace.

Understanding the legal framework

Ohio law recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and offers protection to nursing mothers at work. Specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.

The law also mandates that employers must offer a place, other than a bathroom, shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public where an employee can express breast milk. The space should be clean, comfortable and have an electrical outlet for breast pumps.

Employers must also understand that the frequency and duration of breaks can vary. Some mothers may need to pump every few hours, while others might not require as many breaks. Flexibility is key to effectively supporting breastfeeding employees.

Employee rights

New mothers have the right to request breaks to express breast milk and a private place to do so. Communicating needs to an employer clearly and as early as possible is important, ideally before returning to work from maternity leave. This gives the employer sufficient time to make the necessary arrangements.

Working mothers should not have to choose between their jobs and providing for their children. Ohio law ensures that new mothers can navigate the challenges of breastfeeding while continuing their professional careers.

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