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Understanding workplace rights for nursing mothers

When nursing mothers in Texas return to work after maternity leave, there are many new changes for them. One common change is the need to pump breast milk. They often wonder if they can have extra time to pump milk throughout the day, and it is important to understand the applicable laws.

Understanding the laws regarding nursing mothers in the workplace

At the end of 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law. As of 2023, it is effective. The law gives rights to nursing mothers to allow them time to pump milk if they need to do so. Workplaces with nursing mothers must provide a private place where mothers can pump. It must be a place other than a bathroom. This right remains in effect under the current law for up to a year after the child is born.

What nursing mothers can expect in the workplace

While most employers support nursing mothers and are reasonable about allowing breaks to pump, some may not be as understanding. This lack of understanding may be due to ignorance, a lack of care or something else. Nursing mothers should notify employers if they plan to breastfeed when they return from maternity leave. This gives employers time to ensure there is a private place that is comfortable and clean for mothers to pump milk. Since pumping milk may take longer for some new mothers than for others, it is also important to let an employer or HR know if additional break time is needed. When an employer fails to comply, that is a form of employment discrimination.

It is important for all nursing mothers to remember that they have rights. They should not feel embarrassed or belittled about their choice to breastfeed.