Babel notice

This page deals with employment issues that may affect workers who are pregnant, have recently given birth, and/or are nursing. Below, learn about employment protections for people who are pregnant or nursing, including break time for nursing workers, and the role of doulas in maternal health. You can also find links to additional resources.

Employment Protections for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing

This map provides information on federal and state-level employment protections against pregnancy discrimination, provisions for pregnancy accommodations, and workplace breastfeeding rights.


Download the data file for Employment Protections for Workers Who Are Pregnant or Nursing

Nursing Workers Employment Protections

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. The law requires employers to allow eligible employees reasonable break time to pump whenever needed. Employees are entitled to a private place to pump at work — a functional space that is shielded from view, free from intrusion, and NOT a bathroom. An employer may not deny an eligible employee a needed break to pump. The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) extended the right under the FLSA to reasonable break time and a private space to express breast milk to most nursing employees during their child’s first year.


Doulas are nonclinical birth workers trained to provide continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to women before, during, and after labor and birth. The Women’s Bureau conducted two listening sessions with doulas and doula servicing organizations. Learn 5 Takeaways from DOL Listening Sessions with Doulas.


Additional Resources

Federal Government Resources

Non-Federal Government Resources

Note: Federal law requires that women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions be treated the same as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work for all employment-related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (k). Also, this page only addresses state laws; county, city or other local laws may provide additional sources of protection.

Employers are required to provide nursing mothers reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after the birth of her child under Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 207) ("FLSA"). The law also requires that employers provide a place, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express breast milk. The law does not require that this time be compensated. Note that certain workers who are exempt from Section 7 of the FLSA are not covered by this amendment. Also note that the amendment does not preempt state laws that provide employees with broader protections (for example, compensated break time, break time for exempt employees, or break time beyond one year after the child's birth). For more about the FLSA's break time requirement, see

Forty-six states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also allow women to breastfeed in public places or in places of "public accommodation," even if those jurisdictions do not require employers to make accommodations for breastfeeding employees. We have not included those laws here.