The New York Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act was passed in 2007. The act requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid break time for a working mother to express milk and permit mothers to use paid break time to express milk. The employer must provide mothers with a private area near the workplace. According to the law, bathrooms and storage areas are not suitable for mothers.
Mothers are covered under the law during the first three years of their infant’s life. “We recognize the tremendous health benefits that breastfed infants enjoy and how important it is to increase the number of infants that are breastfed. Breastfed infants are at reduced risk for asthma, obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses throughout their lifetimes. The evidence is clear that being breastfed is important to the lifelong health of infants, and we want to encourage new mothers to continue to breastfeed after they return to work,” said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D.
“Under the labor law, all nursing mothers in New York state have the right to express breast milk in the workplace, and it is the responsibility of every employer to make sure that their employees know their rights under the law,” said state Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith.
Illinois, Colorado and several other states have also passed laws to protect the rights of working mothers who are breastfeeding.