Under California law, within the 1-year period of giving birth, an employee is allowed to pump breast milk at work. The purpose of this law is to prevent workplace discrimination against new mothers and to allow them to breastfeed their newborns.

Does My Employer Have to Accommodate Me?

An employer must provide reasonable accommodations to the new mother. The employer must provide a private and sanitary environment for the new mother to pump. The location may be the mother’s work area, but it cannot be the bathroom.

However, an employer does not have to provide accommodations if he employs less than 50 employees and it would cause the employer great economic harm.

Do I Need to Clock out While Pumping Breast Milk?

This depends on whether the employer provides for paid breaks. If the employer provides for paid breaks, then the pumping should occur concurrently with the paid breaks and the new mother does not need to clock out. However, if additional breaks are needed outside of the paid breaks, then the new mother must clock out. Further, the employer must allow the new mother to pump.

If the employer does not provide for paid breaks, then the new mother must clock out.

What If My Pumping Exceeds My Paid Breaks?

California law is uncertain whether new mothers are required to clock out when the pumping takes longer than the paid break. Generally, employers must give the mother reasonable time to pump, even if it exceeds the paid breaks. If the pumping exceeds the paid breaks and does not affect the woman’s work, then she would most likely not have to clock out. However, this is a case-by-case determination.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are uncertain about your pumping situation, please contact an employment lawyer. An experienced California employment lawyer can help you rid of any discrimination you may be facing and help you obtain legal recourse for any harms you have faced.