Public spaces

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.

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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.

Video success stories in public worksites

Lactation break time and space for city employees

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Cynthia White, L.A. Fire Department, Personnel Services
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The City of Los Angeles supports breastfeeding women with a top-down city-wide policy. Private space is available, and all employees receive support.

Lactation break time and space in a church

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: young women are comfortable in bringing their babies and sitting and nursing their babies and they feel that they are welcome.
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Greenforest Community Baptist Church near Atlanta, supports employees, congregation members, teachers, and visitors with lactation services and flexible space.

Lactation break time and space in a library

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: But once I saw the room I know that I can do it for the whole year.
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The Library of Congress provides a suite for breastfeeding moms with four private milk expression rooms decorated with framed photos from the library archives.

Lactation break time and space in a theater

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: and the fact that our employees are central and core to how we are able to get our work done. So this policy, these flexible schedules...
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Strathmore, a Maryland performing arts center, provides empty dressing rooms for employees, performers, and visitors who need privacy to express milk.

Lactation break time and space in a zoo

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: pump so we wouldn't interfere with each other's time schedule.
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Mesker Park Zoo in Indiana provides space for milk expression to employees and visitors. This reflects the zoo's commitment to natural feeding for all mammals.

Space solutions for all industries

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Who'd have thought that we'd be talking about lactation in the fire service.
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Breastfeeding women in hourly jobs have many solutions for private space to express milk at work. Several companies showcase their creative options.