Five Things Employers Should Know About Expanded Rights For Pumping Breastmilk

By: Maggie Wilson Posted: 05/31/2019

Changes taking effect in July help accommodate working, nursing mothers


This year, Washington lawmakers approved bipartisan legislation that protects working mothers’ rights to a clean, private space and reasonable time to pump breastmilk. Protections like these help increase gender equity in the workplace and promote a more inclusive economy by reducing discrimination against women. 

These changes to our state’s existing pregnancy accommodation law passed the House 96-1 and the Senate 46-0. 

Here are 5 things employers should know about the updated law

  1. The legislation – which goes into effect on July 28 – applies to every single employer in Washington state with 15 or more employees.
  2. Employers must provide mothers who want to breastfeed or express breastmilk with a private space that is not a bathroom. 
  3. Employers must provide mothers with reasonable time to express breastmilk.
  4. If an employer does not have a private non-bathroom space, they need to work with the employee to find an alternative and convenient space to express breastmilk – and create a work schedule that accommodates the mother’s need. 
  5. Employers must provide the clean and private space for two years after the child’s birth. 
You can read the entire text of the bill here – and a legislative summary here.