It seems like I will be recalled to work after being laid off in the spring. I am a media specialist at an elementary school. The schedule I would be assigned has classes back to back all day other than a 25 minute lunch most days. The way the schedule worked all of the prep time is loaded into one day rather than some time each day. I am worried that I will not be able to pump enough before work, at lunch and after work to provide the 5 bottles my daughter will need while I am at work.

I am wondering if I have any legal rights to insist on my schedule being adapted to allow for time to pump in addition to my lunch time? I am committed to providing my daughter with breast milk her first year and I am afraid if I do not have time to pump during the day I will not have the ability to do this.

I guess I should mention I live in the United States.

  • what state are you in? Breastfeeding laws vary from state to state. Sep 15 '11 at 21:18
  • I live in Michigan
    – Erin
    Sep 16 '11 at 2:32
  • 1
    Unfortunately, from what I found online, it appears Michigan is not one of the states that provides additional protections for pumping in the workplace beyond what is in the federal law. Sep 16 '11 at 21:25

It turns out that most of these laws vary state to state. I did some research and this site has the US federal, and state by state laws relating to breastfeeding. In my own state, Oregon, Or. Rev. Stat. § 653.075, § 653.077 and § 653.256 (2007) allow women to have unpaid 30-minute breaks during each four-hour shift to breastfeed or pump. Allows certain exemptions for employers. (HB 2372)

I hope you are able to have such accommodations and I commend you on your determination to continue giving your child their nutritional best!

  • the link to the laws was very helpful!
    – Erin
    Sep 18 '11 at 16:01

In the USA, Federal law requires accommodations be made for nursing mothers to pump, but there are a lot of conditions and exceptions, including whether the employee is otherwise exempt from wage and overtime laws, whether the employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, and whether the employer has fewer than 50 employees. Local jurisdictions can require more accommodations.

I would go and see the HR person for your employer. If you are in a union, go see the shop steward or union rep. Unless you figure out otherwise, you can presume that they are required to give you breaks to pump, but are not required to pay you for those breaks or provide other accommodations.


Another resources for ideas and advocacy is La Leche League. This is a group of women who offer support, education and all kinds of ideas for a variety of nursing "problems"

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