Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the “Break Time for Nursing Mothers” law?

    Effective March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labors Standard Act to require employers to provide a nursing mother reasonable break time to express breast milk after the birth of her child. The amendment also requires that employers provide a place for an employee to express breast milk other than a bathroom.

    Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    1. An employer shall provide-
      1. A reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and
      2. A place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
    2. An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.
    3. An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.
    Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.
  • How should I talk to my employer about lactation breaks?

    Tell your supervisor, manager, or Human Resources Partner during your pregnancy that you will need time and a space to pump breast milk when you return to work.

    Your supervisor may not understand your needs once you return to work. Simply explain that you are going to continue breastfeeding and that you need flexible breaks and privacy in order to express milk while at work.

  • Who can I contact if a wellness room is not clean?
    Please contact the CU Custodial Management Team at 864-656-0241 from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. or at 864-656-4950 from 1 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • How much time is “reasonable” to express breast milk?

    The "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law recognizes that the amount of time it takes to express breast milk varies from individual to individual.

    While it is typical for a woman to need at least 20 minutes to pump, a pumping break also requires time to get to the room, set up, care for the expressed milk, clean up and return to the workplace. The variation caused by these factors, as well as the fact that time requirements may decrease as a woman becomes more familiar with the process, means that it is difficult if not impossible to establish a steadfast window for a “reasonable” break time.

  • How often can I pump during the workday?

    The law requires employers to provide time and space each time a nursing mother has need to express milk, provided the break does not unduly disrupt normal business activities.

    Supervisors and employees/student workers should work together to establish reasonable, flexible and mutually agreeable upon times each day that do not unduly disrupt normal business activities, instruction/class times and/or clinical services. Any employee or student worker responsible for being in a classroom at a given time is expected to schedule lactation breaks around scheduled class time.

  • Where should I go for help?
    Please visit our contact page.
  • Do I need to provide medical verification of my need to pump?
  • Can I use my own private office to pump?
  • Can I pump in a public area like my desk in my cubicle?

    The answer to your question is dependent on both the nursing mother and her coworkers. Some nursing mothers and her coworkers have found this arrangement to be an acceptable and efficient way to complete work and take care of pumping. Mothers can create privacy with curtains, small pop up tents or by using privacy covers. This is sometimes a good alternative when no other alternative space is available.

    Some employees, however, will not be comfortable with this solution. Either the nursing mother may not find this to be private enough or co-workers may be bothered by the sound of the pump. The key is to find a reasonable accommodation that meets the needs of both the mother and the others in the direct work area, being sensitive to all parties.