If you are a nursing mother who works in Denver, Colorado, you may have questions about your rights to express breast milk in the workplace. Luckily, there are both state and federal laws that protect breastfeeding employees.
Colorado Law: Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act
WANMA is a Colorado state law. It applies to all employers with employees, and it mandates that employers in the state provide reasonable break times for their employees to express milk. This can be either unpaid break time, or if the employee is normally provided paid break or mealtimes, these times can be used in lieu of unpaid breaks each day. This is a requirement for two years after the birth of the child. Employers in our state must also provide a private space, which cannot be a bathroom, to express milk.
Federal Law: The Fair Labor Standards Act
The Fair Labor Standards Act, is an expansive federal law that applies to employers with 50 or more employees. Among many of its mandates is the breastfeeding mandate for employees who recently gave birth. Like WANMA, it requires employers to provide break times and private space to express milk, but the requirement only lasts for 12 months.
Before returning to work, talk to your employer about your needs and expectations for expressing breast milk. Discuss how often and how long you will need to take breaks, where you will pump, how you will store your milk and how you will handle any potential issues or conflicts. You can also request a written policy or agreement that outlines your rights and responsibilities as a breastfeeding employee.