Law Update: Rest Periods for Expression of Breast Milk

The Oregon Legislature has expanded the protections for employees with a need to express breast milk.  The expanded protections started on September 29, 2019. Oregon employers are required to allow employees to express milk each time the employee has a need to do so.  Employers should expect that nursing mothers will take a break every 1.5 to 4 hours.   Prior law stated the breaks as one 30 minute break every 4 hours.

Under the old law only employers with 25 or more employees needed to provide breaks.  Under the new law all employers regardless of number of employees must follow the rules and provide unpaid breaks for employees to express breast milk as need throughout the day until the baby is 18 months old. Employees may take their lactation breaks at the same time as a paid rest break. Oregon law encourages employees to combine lactation breaks with meal periods or rest breaks to limit interruptions.  

Employers need to provide employees with a private place (other than a bathroom) where they can express breast milk.  The space can be used for other things, but is must be available to nursing mothers when they need it.

If you have any questions about the updates to the law, please contact our office.

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