As of June 19, employees working in New York are entitled to 30 minutes of paid break time (plus additional unpaid break time, as needed) to express breast milk.

The New York legislature has been increasing protections for lactating employees over the last couple of years.

Originally, breaks were unpaid and employers only needed to make “reasonable efforts” to provide a private space near employees’ work areas to express breast milk.

In 2023, the legislature increased protections by requiring employers to provide lactation space with a detailed list of conditions, provided that doing so would not “impose an undue hardship” on the employer as defined in the law. The legislature also directed the Commissioner of the state Department of Labor to develop a written lactation policy. Employers were required to provide copies of the policy to employees upon hire, annually, and upon return to work after the birth of a child. Finally, the legislature placed a no-retaliation provision in the law.

Now, subsection 1 of New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) § 206-c has been revised as follows (additions in bolded underline):

An employer shall provide paid break time for thirty minutes, and permit an employee to use existing paid break time or meal time for time in excess of thirty minutes, to allow an employee to express breast milk for such employee's nursing child each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk for up to three years following child birth. No employer shall discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the work place.

Accordingly, lactating employees may now take their 30-minute unpaid meal period, an additional 30-minute paid break, and any other reasonably needed time (paid or unpaid) to express breast milk.

All employers (of any size) should review their handbooks, onboarding notices, and return-to-work practices to ensure compliance with NYLL § 206-c.  The DOL’s policy and FAQs have been revised to reflect this new law.

For a printer-friendly copy, click here.


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