If you are a mother in Texas who is breastfeeding, you may wonder what your rights are in this area. For example, can you take breaks to express milk? Where can you do so?
In general, the answers are positive, and they apply for one year after the birth of the child.
Smaller versus larger employers
Businesses that have fewer than 50 employees do not necessarily have to allow mothers to breastfeed. However, if such breaks to express milk would not unduly hurt the company, they should be allowed. Also, many businesses of all sizes recognize the importance of recruiting the best and brightest. They make a point of emphasizing family-friendly policies in their recruiting materials. Moreover, all public employers must allow mothers to express milk at work.
The bottom line: If you work for a public employer or business that employs at least 50 people, your rights are clear, and you should not experience retaliation for taking what you are entitled to. And even if you work for a small employer, you should be protected as long as you can show that expressing milk is not hurting the company.
Having a private space
Time is only one aspect to expressing milk. Another part of the picture is being able to do so in an environment that is safe and private. A restroom does not count, nor does a break room that anyone can enter at any time. Many companies have rooms specially reserved for breastfeeding mothers, and they can be accessed only by keys given to mothers. Alternatively, you may have to get a human resources staffer to let you in each time you want to breastfeed. This security helps ensure that no one unwelcome barges in.
However, you are not legally entitled to get paid for breaks to express milk. Thus, overtime pay is probably not coming your way if you have to stay at work longer to pump milk.
If your child is more than a year old, you are likely not legally entitled to breaks to express milk. Your employer may still work with you to ensure you get this important time, though.