New Law Requires Lactation Space in Federal Buildings

All federal buildings will soon be required to designate a room for nursing mothers to use for breastfeeding children or pumping milk, under new legislation signed last week.

The law, advanced by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C) requires federally-owned or leased buildings to offer private lactation rooms with a chair, working surface and electrical outlet. The rooms will be accessible to both employees and members of the public.

“All we need is a private space,” Norton said. “Until now, space offered was often a ladies’ room. That certainly won’t do.”

NTEU has been ahead of the curve on this issue important to working families. Many NTEU-negotiated contracts already include provisions requiring agencies to set aside space for lactation rooms with working locks and ensure access to refrigerators to store milk. Some NTEU contracts also stipulate that the agency must accommodate reasonable requests to schedule unpaid breaks during the work day for employees to pump as needed.