- Why do Maine workplaces support nursing moms?
- What can employers do to support nursing mothers in the workplace?
- What can employees do to make nursing in the workplace easier?
- What can employees do if they feel their rights have been violated?
- Additional Breastfeeding Protection in Maine: The Nursing in Public Law
In September 2009, Maine's labor law was amended to include the following:
- For an employee who is a nursing mother, the employer shall for three years after the birth of a child:
- provide adequate unpaid break time, or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day to express breast milk for her nursing child.
- make reasonable efforts to provide a clean room or other location, other than a bathroom, where an employee may express breast milk in privacy.
- An employer may be exempted from this section if providing time or an appropriate private space for expressing breast milk would substantially disrupt the employer's operations.
- An employer shall not retaliate or discriminate against an employee who exercises the right provided under this section.
- Average annual savings equal $400 per breastfed baby (lower medical costs with fewer health insurance claims)
- Reduces employee turnover
- Lowers employee absenteeism
- Improves employee productivity
- Raises employee morale and company loyalty
- It's the Law
- Develop workplace policy and determine who oversees implementation
- Inform employees of new policy
- Determine clean, private place with access to electric outlets and a chair.
- Consider a walk through with your employee
- Offer flexible breaks
- Understand Maine's Nursing Mothers In The Workplace Law
- Create "back to work" plan before your baby is born
- Exclusively breastfeed during maternity leave
- Determine scheduling and support needs and talk to your employer as soon as possible
- Do a workplace walk-through, and suggest ideas
An employee who believes her right to express milk has been violated should contact:
An employer who is found to have violated this law through a hearing process must pay a civil penalty of $100-$500 for every violation.[back to top]
Maine law (5MRSA §4634) provides protection for women who nurse in public. A mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be.
This document is a collaborative effort of The Maine WIC Nutrition Program and The Maine Department of Labor.[back to top]
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