Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mothers granted paid breaks at work to pump breast milk in new state law

A woman holding a baby
PNW Production
Mothers can benefit from a new law that guarantees them paid breaks to pump breast milk at work.

New York becomes only the third state in the nation that guarantees breast-feeding mothers paid breaks to express milk. The new law went into effect Wednesday.

Mothers in New York who are breast feeding now have the right to take up to 30 minutes off from work to pump breast milk. The new state law requires employers to provide the time – with pay. Governor Kathy Hochul in a release says this is a significant shift from the previous law that allowed women time-off to express breast milk, but with no guarantee of pay.

“As New York’s first mom Governor, I am fighting every day to give working parents the protections they need to keep their families strong and healthy,” Governor Hochul said. “From our nation-leading prenatal leave program to this legislation requiring employers to give breastfeeding mothers much-needed break time, our state is continuing to stand up for parents in the workplace and protect maternal and child health.”

Maternal support group Healthy Horizons reports 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have laws that require workplaces to allow breast-milk expression. New York joins Indiana and Minnesota as the only states that guarantee pay for those breaks. Federal law gives women the right to take break time to pump, as well as a private place to do it.

The New York law requires mothers to inform employers in advance, ideally before coming back from maternity leave. New York State Health Commissioner Doctor James McDonald said the measure supports working parents, while also enhances health for both mother and child.