In 2009, the North Dakota Legislature passed legislation to protect a woman’s right to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, where the woman and child are otherwise authorized to be. This legislation also established an "infant-friendly" designation for workplaces that adopt breastfeeding support policies. The breastfeeding support policies include:
- allowing flexible break times for expression of milk,
- providing a clean, private space (not a toilet stall or restroom) for pumping/nursing,
- access to a clean water source for washing hands and cleaning breast pump equipment, and
- providing a place for storing breast milk (such as a refrigerator, etc.).
To read the entire text of the legislation, go to North Dakota Century Code 23-12-16 Right to breastfeed.
On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriates Act, into law. This law includes the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, which extends to more employees who are nursing mothers, the right to receive break time and a private place to express breast milk.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for administering and enforcing worker protection laws. For specific questions about your workplace situation call 1-866-487-9243.
Most employees have the right to take reasonable break time to express breast milk for their nursing child. For one year after the child’s birth, covered employees may take reasonable break time “each time such employee has need to express the milk.” An employer may not deny a covered employee a needed break to pump.
Covered employees must be provided with “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
Nearly all FLSA-covered employees have the right to take needed time and to access an appropriate space to express breast milk for a nursing child for up to one year after the child’s birth.
Under the FLSA, when an employee is using break time at work to express breast milk they either:
- Must be completely relieved from duty; or
- Must be paid for the break time.
Further, when employers provide paid breaks, an employee who uses such break time to pump breast milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.
Prohibitions on Retaliation and Remedies for Violation:
It is a violation of the FLSA for any person to “discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceeding, or has served or is about to serve on an industry committee.” Employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Complaints made to the Wage and Hour Division are protected, and most courts have ruled that internal complaints to an employer are also protected.
Beginning April 28, 2023, an employer who violates an employee’s right to reasonable break time and space to pump breast milk will be liable for appropriate legal or equitable remedies under the FLSA.
To learn more, check out:
The United States Breastfeeding Committee's Online Workplace Guide.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Fact Sheet #73 “FLSA Protections for Employees to Pump Breast Milk at Work” .