As a new mother and an employee, you have the right to take breaks throughout the working day. Without being able to do so, you would not be able to express breast milk for the benefit of your child. This is why the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was updated to require that all new mothers with a child under the age of 1 year must have the right to take breaks to express breast milk.
In order to exercise your right to take these breaks as a new mother, you must first verify whether you are covered under the FLSA. The FLSA applies to the majority of employees in the United States, however, retail and service employees who are mainly compensated through commission may not be eligible. In addition, employees who are managers in a corporate environment may not have these protections under the FLSA, but this should be a non-issue because they would be entitled to breaks regardless.
What instructions does the FLSA give to employers regarding the rights of new mothers?
The FLSA demands that employers allow all employees covered under the FLSA to be able to take reasonable break time in order to allow them to express breast milk. They should be permitted to take these breaks until the child is 1 year old. In addition, the employer has the duty to provide a private space that is not a bathroom so that the new mother can express the breast milk in an appropriate environment.
What can I do if my employer denies me the right to these breaks?
If your employer has denied you breaks for the purpose of expressing breast milk, you should verify that you are eligible for protection under the FLSA. Once you have done this, you should consider whether the breaks that you were taking were reasonable and done for the purpose of expressing breast milk. If this is the case, you may want to consider taking action.
You may be able to file a workplace discrimination claim against your employer if you were denied your rights as a new mother in the Missouri workplace.