Did you know that there is already a law to help working mothers who are nursing their newborns? You have to be aware of your rights and know whom to talk to in order to use a breast pump whenever it is necessary. This applies to all, no matter what your work is – whether you are paid based on an hourly rate, you are a service worker or the boss of a company.
The federal law, which is called Break Time for Nursing Mothers, has been helping a lot of working mothers who are breastfeeding since 2010. The law states that hourly paid employees and some salaried non-exempt workers need to be provided by their employers with break time and a private area where they can express breast milk while at work. It has to be in effect until the baby of the employee turns one.
For those who are not covered by the federal law, you can contact your local breastfeeding coalition to know more about the coverage of the state law.
More about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law
This applies to nonexempt hourly working mothers who are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law requires employers to provide a specific space for nursing mothers, but not the bathroom, so that they can do this with privacy and comfort.
The duration of the break time has to be reasonable. You have to be allowed to pump whenever you need to. The law, however, doesn’t require employers to pay their employees during pumping breaks. If you have paid breaks at work, you might as well utilize the time to pump your milk in order to take advantage of it. This means that the additional time that you will need to finish the task is allowed, but not necessarily with pay.
Is the Law Applicable to Small Businesses?
All employers are required to comply with the law, no matter how many employees they have and how big or small the business is. If the company has less than 50 workers and is finding it hard to comply with the law due to lack of financial resources and the nature of the business, the employer can file for an exemption with the Department of Labor. The exemption will only be effective once the petition is granted.
The law is considered a victory not only for mothers but for their babies and families as well. You have to be informed in order to take advantage of your rights when it is time to go back to work.
Preparations Before Going Back to Work
Before consuming the allotted period of your maternity leave, make sure that you have done all things necessary for yourself, the baby and the household. Here are some tips on what you need to prepare for.
1. Make arrangements on who will take care of your baby once you go back to work. Consider your budget and all the available options. If you will hire a nanny or baby sitter, perform a thorough background check and interview all qualified applicants. You must also observe how they interact with your baby and vice versa. To make the process easier, ask your family and friends for recommendations. You need to go through all the fuss so that you will have peace of mind, knowing that your child is in good hands, once you report back to work.
2. After you have chosen the right person, ask your nanny to start early. This is considered a trial period. This gives the person more time to bond with your baby while you are still at home. This also gives you time to observe and state your concerns and suggestions.
3. Take time to relax and have a little breather by shopping for new clothes or having a hair cut.
4. Finalize all instructions with your nanny about how you want her to take care of the baby and how your nanny can get in touch with you when you are at work. You must also decide whether you would want the nanny to bring the baby in the office during your lunch break or you will rather use a breast pump to extract milk and store it for later use.