Know Your Rights!

Breastfeeding While Working




of women stop breastfeeding earlier than they would like.


of new mothers report that their plans for employment had an impact on their baby-feeding decisions

Only 40%

of nursing moms have access to both adequate break time and a private space to express breast milk while at work

State and Local Breastfeeding Protection Laws

New York Nursing Moms Rights At Work

While at work you will need to pump breast milk during the day. That way you can keep your milk from drying up before you and your baby are ready to stop nursing. And you will be able to save milk for  your baby to drink when you are not there.

Even the state of NY thinks it's a good idea to breastfeed your baby. That's why there are very string laws that give you the right to express or pump breast milk at work. 

Many employees are also entitled to a non-restroom private space and time to pump under federal law

What must my employer do if I want to express milk at work?

  1.  They must give you time to express milk for your baby. New York Law says your employer MUST give you:
  • Unpaid break time to express breast milk at work or allow you to pump during regularly scheduled paid breaks.
  • A break once very 3 hours or as needed
  • At least a 20 minute break (or 30 minutes, if you need extra time to get the space where  you can express milk).

Your employer can ask you to wait, and take your scheduled break later than planned if they need you, or can't find someone to cover for you. But they cannot ask you to wait more than 30 minutes past your scheduled break time.

2. They must try to give you space to express

Your employer must try its best to give you a clean, private space, other than a bathroom, where you can express milk with no interruption. Some employers many not have to do this, if finding a private space would be too expensive, or would be too difficult because of their size, layout, hours of operation, cost, or nature of their work.

3. They must give you information and support

  • Under New York law your employer must give you written information about your rights.
Your healthcare provider should also give you information on your right to breastfeed in the workplace and at the hospital, the benefits of breastfeeding and how to get help if you are having trouble feeding your baby

Your employer may not discriminate against you or punish you in any way because you choose to express breast milk at work. If you need help using your rights, or would like more information, call 212-430-5982 for free and confidential legal guidance.


Paid Family Leave in New York State Benefits start on January 1, 2018.



Percentage of US mothers who return to work within less than 2 weeks of giving birth



Number of countries that do not guarantee paid maternity leave (the United States, Suriname and Papua New Guinea)



Percentage of private sector workers in the US who have access to paid family leave in the event of a new child or a family health emergency


What does the paid family leave law do?

The law guarantees workers time off to bond with a new child (including adopted and foster children); care for a seriously ill family member (child,parent,parent-in-law,spouse, domestic partner. grandchild, or grandparent); or address certain military family needs

Am I covered?

If you're employed outside the government in New York State, either full-time or part-time, you're probably covered under the law, regardless of how many people work for your employer

How much paid family can I take?

In 2018, you will be able to take up to eight weeks of family leave. Each year after that, the number of weeks available will be increased

How much of my paycheck can I get while I am on paid family leave?

In 2018, you will receive half (50%) of your average weekly pay, up to about $650 per week. Each year after that, you'll be eligible to receive a greater percentage of your pay while on leave

Will my job be protected while I am on leave?

Yes. You have the right to return to work. If you receive coverage through your employer, you also have the right to keep your healthcare coverage under its current conditions

When can I begin taking paid family leave?

If you've worked for your employer for at least six months, you can start receiving benefits on January 1, 2018. Otherwise, you may start receiving benefits six months after your start date


Paid Family and Medical Leave in the States

Since 2004, three states in addition to New York—California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island—have enacted programs to provide partial pay to workers taking time off to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill relative. These laws build upon existing programs to provide partial pay for a worker’s own serious health condition. Washington, D.C.’s City Council also recently passed a strong paid family and medical leave law. Still other states are lining up to pass their own paid family and medical leave plans.

Visit ABB Federal and Local Laws resources to learn more

New York City Pregnant Workers Fairness Act



Estimated pregnant workers every year who are denied requests for accommodations, and even more don’t bother asking, for fear of retaliation
Of Americans have personally seen pregnancy discrimination in the workplace

What does the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) do?

The PWFA protects pregnant women and mother who have recently given birth from workplace discrimination. Employers have to allow pregnant employees to make changes to their work duties or schedule so they can stay healthy  and satisfy the "essential requisites" of their job (e.g. help with heavy lifting, breaks to drink water or rest,etc.) These changes are called "reasonable accommodations."

Am I covered?

If you are pregnant, recovering from childbirth, nursing or have a related medical condition and work for an employer in New York City (Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island or Queens) who has at least 4 employees, then you are covered.

What are my rights?

You are entitles to a reasonable accommodation at work as long as it does not cause an "undue hardship" for your employer. A resolvable accommodation could include temporary transfer to a less physically demanding position or a modified work schedule.

Do I have to be disabled to get an accommodation?

No. Even women with healthy pregnancies can get a reasonable accommodation if they need one, such as light duty to prevent injury. 

What should I do if my employer refuses to grant me a reasonable accommodation or punishes me for being pregnant or for asking for an accommodation?

Call  A Better Balance  work legal clinic hotline for help and advice at 212-430-5982. ABB is a not for profit legal center that works with New Yorkers who are facing unfair treatment at work because they are pregnant or have family care responsibilities. All of their services are free.

 The Federal Pregnant Workers Act