New York Labor Law Protects Nursing Mothers' Workplace Rights

New York Labor Law Protects Nursing Mothers' Workplace Rights

May 16, 2023

Next month, a new law aimed at strengthening the rights of nursing mothers in the workplace, takes effect in New York State.

New York State Labor Law Section 206-c, offers clear rules for employers that guarantee a nursing mother’s right to safely and privately expel breastmilk during the workday.

Employers will now be responsible to ensure that nursing mothers have specific supports in place within the workplace to expel breastmilk as needed during the workday, including:

  • Providing reasonable (defined as no less than 20 minutes up to once every three hours) unpaid break time or permitting an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to allow the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following child birth.
  • Provide a room or other location (not a restroom), in close proximity to the work area, where an employee can express milk in privacy.

It is worth noting that the updated law does not require the employer to provide refrigeration space for expelled breast milk. Specifically, it states: “Employers are encouraged to provide an outlet, clean water supply, and access to refrigeration for the purposes of storing the expressed milk.”

The state also outlines several “suggested employer activities” to implement in conjunction with the required rules. They include:

  • Providing educational information in the lactation room or area regarding the benefits of breastfeeding and tips on expressing and storing breast milk including posters, newsletters, books, and referral information to health education programs about breastfeeding.
  • Allowing flexible work hours, job sharing, and/or part-time scheduling to accommodate
    employees with children of nursing age.
  • Providing an easily accessible sink to wash tubing used for pumping breast milk.
  • Allowing mothers of nursing children attending on-site day care to take breaks to breast feed in lieu of pumping.
  • Including protection for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the company’s sexual harassment policy.


The new law, originally signed by Governor Hochul in December 2022, takes effect June 7th.

Click here to learn more about the updated New York Labor Law.