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Breastfeeding Break Requirements by State

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

This chart covers private-sector employer requirements involving break periods for breastfeeding, whether paid or unpaid. It does not cover other requirements related to breastfeeding such as rights to breastfeed in public, exemptions of breastfeeding from public indecency laws, or exemptions from jury duty requirements.

Table cells are marked N/A where the state statutes or regulations are silent, or where they encourage but do not require breastfeeding breaks.

Where there are no limitations on employee eligibility, the safest approach is to provide breastfeeding breaks for all employees, regardless of the age of the child or the size of the employer. Where there is no guidance about whether breaks must be paid, the safest approach is to pay employees for break time; barring that, an employer may wish to defer to federal guidance, which requires employers to pay for breastfeeding breaks if they permit short rest breaks of 20 minutes or less, such as smoking breaks or water-cooler breaks.

Employers in states without breastfeeding requirements must comply with the federal requirements unless they are not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Additional guidance can be found in the Establish Breastfeeding Breaks for Nursing Mothers Task.