June 17, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Reminds New Yorkers That New Law Requiring Paid Break Time for Breast Milk Expression Takes Effect Starting June 19

Governor Hochul Reminds New Yorkers That New Law Requiring Paid Break Time for Breast Milk Expression Takes Effect Starting June 19

Legislation Requires Employers to Provide 30 Minutes of Paid Break Time for Employees to Express Breast Milk

Builds on Governor’s Commitment to Improving Maternal and Child Health and Supporting Families in the Workplace – Including First-in-the-Nation Paid Prenatal Leave Program

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that a new law requiring employers to provide 30 minutes of paid break time for employees to express breast milk goes into effect on Wednesday. This mandate applies whenever employees have a reasonable need to express breast milk and extends up to three years following childbirth.

“As New York’s first mom Governor, I am fighting every day to give working parents the protections they need to keep their families strong and healthy,” Governor Hochul said. “From our nation-leading prenatal leave program to this legislation requiring employers to give breastfeeding mothers much-needed break time, our state is continuing to stand up for parents in the workplace and protect maternal and child health.”

Comprehensive information about employee rights and employer requirements regarding breast milk expression in the workplace is available on the New York State Department of Labor’s (NYSDOL) dedicated resource page.

Under the new law, employees can also use existing paid break time or mealtime for any time in excess of thirty minutes. This marks a significant shift from the previous requirement, where employers were only obligated to provide reasonable unpaid break time for this purpose.

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “This legislation represents a major victory for working parents across New York State. By providing paid break time for breast milk expression, we are not only supporting parents and their babies but also reinforcing the importance of family-friendly workplace policies. The Department of Labor remains committed to ensuring that all employers comply with these new standards and that all employees are aware of their rights.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “Providing paid break time for milk expression shows our support of working parents and family-friendly work environments. Breast/chest milk contains nutrients that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria, which is important in their early months, and babies who breast/chest feed have fewer infections and illnesses, which can mean fewer missed days of work for parents. I thank Governor Hochul for implementing this legislation and providing New Yorkers with resources to help them balance their personal and professional lives.”

This legislation builds on Governor Hochul’s commitment to supporting families in the workplace. As part of the FY2025 Budget, the Governor secured an agreement to establish the nation’s first prenatal leave program, offering expecting parents an additional 20 hours of paid sick leave for prenatal care and medical visits. The Governor has also expanded childcare options and lowered costs by raising the childcare eligibility income limit to the maximum allowed by federal law, thereby benefiting 113,000 more families. Additionally, the Child Tax Credit was expanded to include children under four years old, benefiting more than 525,000 families and nearly 630,000 children.

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