Baltimore City employers with two or more full-time equivalent employees are now required to provide lactation accommodations for breastfeeding employees -- including a reasonable break period and location to breastfeed or express breast milk.
If possible, the break time must occur during any required paid break time or break time already provided by the employer. If no such paid break time exists, the lactation break period can be an unpaid break. These strict requirements govern the location where the lactation break can occur:
The area may be a multi-use area if, throughout the period of an employee’s need to express milk, the primary function of the location is its use as a lactation location, that function takes precedence over all other uses and the employer provides notice to all other employees who may need that area.
Baltimore City's new law corresponds with a similar Maryland state law that provides protections for nursing mothers employed by the State of Maryland. Under the new nursing-break law, Maryland is required to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time to express breast milk for a nursing child after the child’s birth each time the employee needs to express the milk. The state law also requires that employers, on notice, provide nursing mothers a place to express milk, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from coworkers.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the federal law governing the payment of minimum wages and overtime wages, also provides protections for nursing mothers. Similar to the Maryland law, the FLSA requires employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” More information on the nursing requirements under the FLSA is available here.
These laws provide important protections to employees in Maryland who are nursing. If you are seeking advice, assistance or representation in an employment case involving nursing, Lebau & Neuworth may be able to help you. Contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.