Last year, New York State Governor Spitzer signed into effect an amendment to the New York Labor Law by adding section 206-c, the Rights of Nursing Mothers to Express Breast Milk. Applicable to all New York State employers, regardless of size, this law requires that employers make reasonable efforts to allow employees to express breast milk for their nursing children.
The law provides that “an employer shall provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to allow an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to three years following childbirth. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, where an employee can express milk in privacy. No employer shall discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace.”
Recently, the Commissioner of Labor released guidelines for the application of Section 206-c. The law and guidelines address a growing public health concern as more and more recent mothers return to work shortly after giving birth.