Worksite Lactation Laws
Both Texas law and federal law support breastfeeding. The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program recognizes employers who go above and beyond basic legal requirements to provide lactation support policies and programs for their employees.
Texas Worksite Lactation Laws
Breastfeeding in Public
Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 165 states that a mother can breastfeed or express breastmilk for her baby anywhere she is otherwise allowed to be.
Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Designation
Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 165 also created the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation in 1995 to recognize employers who have policies that support breastfeeding. Texas Mother-Friendly policies must include:
- “Work schedule flexibility, including scheduling breaks and work patterns to provide time for expression of milk;
- The provision of accessible locations allowing privacy;
- Access nearby to a clean, safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out any needed breast-pumping equipment; and
- Access to hygienic storage alternatives in the workplace for the mother's breast milk.”
Full criteria for designation as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite are provided in Texas Administrative Code.
Public Employers Must Have Lactation Support Policies
Texas Government Code Chapter 619 states that all Texas public employers must provide a policy that supports breastfeeding. They must also provide a private place for lactating employees to pump (that is not a multiple user bathroom) and break time to do so. The law also prohibits employers from suspending, firing, or discriminating against employees who use these rights.
Federal Worksite Lactation Laws
Many businesses that are working to meet the requirements of the law may already meet the criteria to become recognized as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite.
Since 2010, the Breaktime for Nursing Mothers Provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to provide lactating employees a reasonable amount of break time and a private space, other than a bathroom, to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee's child.
On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 was signed into law. This law includes the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act (“PUMP Act”). The PUMP Act extends the rights to receive break time and a private space to pump at work to nearly all employees, including FLSA exempt employees, who were previously not covered by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision of the FLSA.