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Nursing Employees – Express Breast Milk in the Workplace

Nursing Employees – Express Breast Milk in the Workplace

Policy:

In compliance with New York State Labor Law Section 206-c and Section 21.12 of the New York State Department of Civil Service Attendance and Leave Manual, Purchase College shall provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time to allow an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk for up to three years following child birth. The College shall not discriminate in any way against an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace.

Upon request of an employee who chooses to express breast milk in the workplace, the College shall designate a room or other location which shall be made available for use by such employee to express breast milk. Such room or other location shall be a place that is: (i) in close proximity to the work area; (ii) well lit; (iii) shielded from view; and (iv) free from intrusion from other persons in the workplace or the public. Such room or other location shall provide, at minimum, a chair, a working surface, nearby access to clean running water and, if the workplace is supplied with electricity, an electrical outlet. The room or location provided by the College for this purpose shall not be a restroom or toilet stall. If the workplace has access to refrigeration, the College shall extend such access to refrigeration for the purposes of storing the expressed milk.

If the sole purpose or function of such room or other location is not dedicated for use by employees to express breast milk, such room or other location shall be made available to such an employee when needed and shall not be used for any other purpose or function while in use by such employee. The College shall provide notice to all employees as soon as practicable when such room or other location has been designated for use by employees to express breast milk.

Using Existing Meal Periods and Paid Rest Breaks

The College is required to permit nursing employees to express breast milk during their meal period and/or paid rest breaks if the employee elects to utilize meal periods and/or paid rest breaks for this purpose. However, an employee cannot be required to use meal periods and/or paid rest breaks for this purpose and may elect to express breast milk at other reasonable times during the work shift.

The policy does not authorize the granting of additional paid break time beyond that already provided by the College.

Using Unpaid Break Time

Employees may elect to use the unpaid break time instead of or in combination with meal periods and/or paid rest breaks. Consistent with State policy on use of leave credits, employees must be permitted to charge appropriate leave credits (credits other than sick leave) during the unpaid breaks.

While the statutory benefit is available to employees within their basic workweek as well as during any additional time worked, including overtime shifts, employees are not permitted to charge leave credits outside their basic workweek. Use of unpaid break time outside the basic workweek does not impact eligibility to earn biweekly leave credits.

Eligibility to Earn Leave Credits under the Attendance Rules

Employees who use unpaid break time and do not charge credits during such unpaid break time may be ineligible to earn biweekly leave credits.

The Attendance Rules require an employee to be in full pay status for seven separate full days out of ten in a biweekly pay period in order to earn biweekly leave credits (or a proportionate number of days for employees scheduled to work fewer than ten days in a biweekly pay period). A day on which an employee takes an unpaid break for this purpose, and doesn’t charge leave credits during that break, does not count as a day in full pay status for purposes of earning leave credits.

Procedures

  • Employees are required to make arrangements in advance to utilize this benefit. Consultation with their supervisor and Amanda Zallo, Human Resources Manager, should occur prior to a nursing employee’s return to work from child care leave.
  • Employees are not entitled to absent themselves from their work stations for this purpose without prior approval. Prior approval is normally obtained at the time the initial arrangements are made and a schedule is agreed upon. When an employee needs to change a previously agreed upon schedule, the employee must obtain approval to do so.
  • Employees can be required to postpone a scheduled time to express milk for a brief period of time if they cannot be spared.
  • Time required to express breast milk includes the time required for the nursing employee to reach and return from the location identified by the agency for expressing milk.
  • The amount of time needed to express breast milk may vary and there is no set limit on the number of breaks provided per day. They must, however, be reasonable and approved by the supervisor.
  • The benefit is available to employees within their basic workweek as well as during any additional time worked, including overtime shifts.
  • An employee who wishes to avail themselves of this benefit is expected to give their supervisor and Amanda Zallo, Human Resources Manager, reasonable notice so that a schedule can be arranged and a location identified. Normally, this consultation will take place prior to a nursing employee’s return to work from child care leave. It is also expected that an employee will provide their agency notice when the need for time to express breast milk is no longer required. In no event is the benefit available beyond three years from the date of birth of the child.

Please direct any questions to Amanda Zallo, Human Resources Manager via email: amanda.zallo@purchase.edu or phone (914) 251-6449.

 

Revised January 9, 2023