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Governor Signs Legislation Designed to Expand Protections for Working Mothers

Kristen M. Dombroksi Author Photo
Kristen Dombroski
Apr 6, 2023
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In December 2022, Governor Hochul signed a bill into law designed to expand protections for working mothers who breastfeed. The law applies to all public and private employers in New York.  


The law requires employers to provide a written policy for breastfeeding in the workplace. Upon hire, annually, and when employees return to work after the birth of a child, employers must provide employees with a written policy regarding nursing employees’ rights to express breast milk in the workplace, and the procedures for requesting a room or location to express breast milk. As of the date of drafting this article, the New York State Department of Labor’s Commissioner’s written policy is not yet available.

Generally, employees have the right to take breaks when they have a “reasonable need to express breast milk” for up to three years after giving birth. Labor Law § 206-c. Employees must give their employer advance notice of their request for a room or location to express breast milk. Employers must respond to an employee’s request for a room or other location for use to express breast milk within five business days.

Privacy and Proximity

The law expands accommodations for breastfeeding in the workplace. Employers must continue to make reasonable efforts to provide pumping spaces. Employers are directed to provide a private area for employees to express breast milk. The location should be convenient, and in close proximity to the employees’ work area. There is a narrow exception if providing a room imposes an undue burden on the employer.   

The designated area must be well lit, shielded from view, and free from intrusion from other individuals. The area must have a chair, a working surface, access to clean running water, and access to electricity (if the workplace has electricity). The designated area cannot be a restroom or toilet stall. Although the area can serve other purposes, the location must be available when an employee needs to use it to express breast milk. During the time when an employee is using the area to express breast milk, the area cannot be used for another purpose or function.  If the workplace has a refrigerator, then the employee must have access to the refrigerator to store expressed milk.  Employers are prohibited from discriminating against or retaliating against employees who choose to exercise their rights under the statute.  The law will take effect on June 7, 2023.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to talk about our firm’s employment practice, please contact Peter Weishaar, at or (585)512-3542, or Kristen Dombroski, at or (585)512-3526.


This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.