Pay and Benefits

Providing breaks for nursing workers to pump

You have the responsibility to provide nursing employees with reasonable break time and space to pump at work.

In general, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. The frequency and duration of breaks needed to express milk will likely vary depending on factors related to the nursing employee and the child. Factors such as the location of the space and the steps reasonably necessary to express breast milk, such as pump setup, can also affect the duration of time an employee will need to express milk.


Employees who telework are eligible to take pump breaks under the FLSA on the same basis as other employees.


Covered employees must be provided with “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.” Under the FLSA, a bathroom, even if private, is not a permissible location for the employer to provide for pumping breast milk.


Under the FLSA, when an employee is using break time at work to express breast milk they either:

  • Must be completely relieved from duty; or
  • Must be paid for the break time.


Further, when employers provide paid breaks, an employee who uses such break time to pump breast milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.

Mother holding her infant baby

We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. Many questions about the requirement to provide nursing employees reasonable break time and space can be answered by reviewing the following:

For additional assistance, please contact:

WHD: 1-866-4-US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243)

All discussions with us are free and confidential.

Need more information?

The elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors are a set of online tools developed by the U.S. Department of Labor to help employees and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under federal employment laws.