New York State Employers Soon Must Provide 30-minute Paid Lactation Breaks

New York State will soon require employers to provide employees with a paid 30-minute break to express breast milk for the employee’s nursing child. 

Under the current New York State Labor Law § 206-c, employers must (i) permit an employee to use reasonable unpaid time, existing paid break time, or meal time to express breast milk for up to three years following childbirth; (ii) designate a room or location for nursing employees that meets the law’s requirements; and (iii) provide all employees with a written policy regarding the rights of nursing employees to express breast milk in the workplace.

The amended law will require employers in New York State to provide nursing employees with a paid 30-minute break in addition to allowing those employees to use other unpaid and paid breaks to express breast milk at work.

The amended NYS Labor Law § 206-c will go into effect on June 19, 2024.

Employers in New York State should review and revise their policies on lactation breaks, including any handbook policies, and issue revised notices.  The NYS Department of Labor (DOL) likely will update its model lactation policy so that employers may use it to meet their notice requirements.  Employers should also review and revise their practices regarding lactation breaks and train managers and supervisors on the amended law. 

Employers inside and outside of New York State should also note that they must comply with the federal PUMP Act by providing employees with breaks and adequate space to express breast milk in the workplace for up to a year after the birth of a child.