Women work in a wide variety of industries where the worksite is a public space. This includes museums, local government offices like the Motor Vehicle Administration, or even sporting arenas. In many types of jobs performed in public spaces, such as social workers, librarians, and religious institutional staff, the majority of employees are women.1 View and share lactation break time and space success stories from different types of jobs carried out in public areas.
Lactation break time and space in public areas
Public areas where women work can be so different from one another that lactation solutions are likely to be unique to a particular worksite or job. Employers whose non-exempt employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom for breastfeeding employees. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers FLSA requirement can be seen on the FLSA minimum wage poster (PDF, 147 KB) or notice that must be posted in worksites covered by FLSA.
- Time. Many employees use regular break times and meal periods to pump or express milk. Hourly workers can clock out for lactation breaks if they take longer than standard break times. Many companies use floater staff to provide coverage when a worker must be away from her work station. Flexibility on the part of both employer and employee is necessary when a mother is breastfeeding. Supervisors should be aware of the need for lactation breaks if there is unscheduled overtime or extended duty hours.
- Space. If there is not space for a permanent, dedicated lactation room, space options for public worksites include an existing manager’s office or storage area that can be screened off. Local governments, businesses, or organizations can work together to create lactation space for multiple employees in public buildings such as police or fire stations, government offices, or libraries. Religious buildings may be open to the public and willing to provide private lactation space during workdays. Lactation space must not be in a bathroom. Learn more about what employers need to know about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.
- U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table 11: Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.