Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers

If an employee is covered under both Colorado and federal laws, then the employer must follow the law which provides the greater protection to employees.

REQUIREMENTS The Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act requires public and private employers who have one or more employees to provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time, meal time, or both, each day to allow the employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to two years after the child’s birth. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) requires that employers provide “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.”

An employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express breast milk in privacy.

Reasonable efforts means any effort that would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

Undue hardship means any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the business, the financial resources of the business, or the nature and structure of its operation, including consideration of the special circumstances of public safety.

The location provided must be “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.

Colorado law applies to all public and private employers employing one or more employees in the state.

Before an employee may seek litigation for a violation of this section, there shall be nonbinding mediation between the employer and the employee. Persons inquiring may need to contact an attorney for legal advice.

Only employees who are not exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) are entitled to breaks to express milk.

An employer that employs less than 50 employees may not be subject to the FLSA break time requirements, 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.

Persons inquiring about federal break time requirements should contact the U.S. Department of at 720-264-3250.