EMPLOYMENT PROTECTIONS FOR WORKERS WHO ARE
PREGNANT OR NURSING
Workers in all states and territories are protected by federal employment laws, including the laws described below the map.
States may also pass laws that give specific protections and rights to workers, but they may not reduce or limit the protections provided by federal laws. The map shows which U.S. States have laws, statutes and/or interpretative case law that specifically prohibit pregnancy discrimination and/or that mandate support of nursing mothers expressing milk in the workplace.
State Pregnancy Discrimination Law
Both Types of State Law
State Law Protecting Workplace Lactation/ Breastfeeding
Neither (Only Federal Law Applies)
Use the drop down menu and select a particular state, and contact information will be provided on where to go to get specific details on each state’s respective laws. The information provided on this website should not be considered legal advice. For specific information on your legal rights, an attorney should be consulted.
Please note, this information will be updated regularly to reflect changes in state law. However, this is a dynamic process and the information on the website may not always reflect the most current or immediate changes. Therefore, we have added direct links to contacts in the states as an additional source of information. We will continue to add new resources to this site as information becomes available.
Furthermore, the following resources include information created and maintained by other public entities and private organizations. Please be aware that the Department of Labor and the Women’s Bureau do not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of this outside information. The inclusion of the following resources is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered by the author of the reference or the organization operating the site on which the reference is maintained.
The major federal laws that afford workplace protections and employment rights for workers who are pregnant or nursing are:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 
What is covered? Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex.
Who is covered? Title VII’s protections cover employees who work for an employer having at least 15 employees, including state and local governments. Title VII also applies to employment agencies, training programs and labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
For additional information see the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/titlevii.cfm
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act 
What is covered? The PDA amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions constitute sex discrimination under Title VII. Women who are pregnant or affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same manner in all terms and conditions of employment as other applicants or employees with similar abilities or limitations.
Who is covered? Like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the PDA’s protections cover the same employees and employers as title VII.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
This law prohibits an employer from refusing to hire a woman because of a pregnancy-related condition as long as she is able to perform the major functions of her job, or treating a pregnant applicant or worker differently in any terms and conditions of work because of her pregnancy, or a pregnancy-related condition.
Pregnancy and Maternity Leave
An employer may not single out pregnancy-related conditions for special procedures to determine an employee's ability to work. However, if an employer requires all of its employees to submit a doctor's statement concerning their inability to work before granting leave or paying sick benefits, the employer may require employees affected by pregnancy-related conditions to submit such statements.
If an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job because of her pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, if the employer allows temporarily disabled employees to modify tasks, perform alternative assignments, or take disability leave or leave without pay, the employer also must allow an employee who is temporarily disabled because of pregnancy to do the same.
Pregnant employees must be permitted to work as long as they are able to perform their jobs. If an employee has been absent from work as a result of a pregnancy-related condition and recovers, her employer may not require her to remain on leave until the baby's birth. An employer also may not have a rule that prohibits an employee from returning to work for a predetermined length of time after childbirth.
Employers must hold open a job for a pregnancy-related absence the same length of time they would hold jobs open for employees on sick or disability leave.
Any health insurance provided by an employer must cover expenses for pregnancy-related conditions on the same basis as costs for other medical conditions. An employer need not provide health insurance for expenses arising from abortion, except where the life of the mother is endangered by the pregnancy or where medical complications have arisen from an abortion.
Pregnancy-related expenses should be reimbursed exactly as those incurred for other medical conditions, whether payment is on a fixed basis or a percentage of reasonable-and-customary-charge basis.
The amounts payable by the insurance provider can be limited only to the same extent as amounts payable for other conditions. No additional, increased or larger deductible can be imposed.
If an employer provides any benefits to workers on leave, the employer must provide the same benefits for those on leave for pregnancy-related conditions.
Employees on leave because of pregnancy-related conditions must be treated the same as other temporarily disabled employees for accrual and crediting of seniority, vacation calculation, pay increases and temporary disability benefits.
For additional information see the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: : http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/pregnancy.cfm
- The Nursing Mothers Break Time Provision of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act), 2010
What is covered?
This law requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are not required to compensate employees for such time. Employers are also required to provide 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.
Who is covered?
The Affordable Care Act amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), creating a nursing mothers break time provision for employees who are not exempt from section 7, which includes the FLSA’s overtime pay requirements. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the nursing mothers break time requirement if compliance with the provision would impose an undue hardship.
Federal Government Resources
U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources
Office of Women’s Health
Going Back to Work – Information on Breastfeeding
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division – Break Time for Nursing Mothers
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC
Pregnancy Discrimination Information
Non-federal Government Resources
Please note, the following resources include information created and maintained by private organizations.
Please be aware that the Department of Labor and the Women’s Bureau do not control or guarantee the
accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. The inclusion of the
following resources is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views
expressed or products or services offered by the author of the reference or the organization operating the
site on which the reference is maintained.
Organization: Legal Momentum
Pregnancy Discrimination, Breastfeeding and Leave (Including State Information)
Organization: National Conference of State Legislatures
Breastfeeding information (Including State Information)
Organization: Workplace Fairness
Pregnancy Discrimination Information (Including State Information)
Organization: US Breastfeeding Committee
Breastfeeding and Work Information
June 23, 2014