Enacted Georgia Breastfeeding Laws

Breastfeeding in Public

Georgia law states women are able to breastfeed their infant anywhere they are legally allowed to be with their baby. 

Ga. Code An. § 31-1-9

"The breast-feeding of a baby is an important and basic act of nurture to which every baby has a right and which act must be encouraged in the interests of maternal and child health and family values, and in furtherance of this right, a mother may breast-feed her baby in any location, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."

Breastfeeding at Work

Employers in Georgia "may" support breastfeeding employees by providing break time and a space other than a bathroom to express breastmilk, but are not required to accommodate breastfeeding mothers when they return to work.

Ga. Code An. § 34-1-6

  (a) As used in this Code section, the term ’employer’ means any person or entity that employs one or more employees and shall include the state and its political subdivisions.


  (b) An employer may provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The employer may make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location (in close proximity to the work area), other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer is not required to provide break time under this Code section if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

However, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects working mothers in Georgia stating employers must provide breastfeeding moms break time and a private space to pump (other than a bathroom) for one year after delivery if they are non-exempt employees. The law does not specify the number or duration of daily breaks. “Reasonable” break time makes accommodation for variations in biology as some women may need to pump longer or more often than others.

Under FLSA, employers are not required to pay employees during their pumping breaks. Furthermore, if the company has fewer than 50 employees and the breaks constitute a “hardship” to the employer, the FLSA requirements can be waived; the employer must provide proof of burden to show that enforcement of the law would cause “undue hardship" for example, not being able to provide a private lactation space due to the physical structure of the business. 

29 U.S.C.A § 207(r)(1)(B)  

  (1) An employer shall provide—

(A) a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and

(B) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk

29 U.S.C.A § 207(r)(2-4)(B) 

 

  (2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.

  (3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer's business.

  (4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.

In order for an employee to be covered under the FLSA statute, they need to have "enterprise coverage" or "individual coverage".

 

According to 29 U.S.C.A § 203(s)(1), "enterprise coverage is when an employee works for certain businesses or organizations that either have 

  1) an annual dollar volume of sales or business of at least $500,000, or

  2) hospitals, business providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools and preschools, and government agencies. 

"Individual coverage" covers employees even when the employee is not working for an "enterprise" if their work regularly involves them in commerce between states. According to 75. Fed. Reg. 244 (2010), those who are regularly involved in interstate commerce such as those who produce goods that will likely be sent out of the state, those who regularly make phone calls to persons in other states, those traveling to others states with their job, or even doing janitorial work in buildings where these goods are produced for shipment outside of the state. The Department of Labor states the nature of "individual" commerce encompasses most business, and domestic service workers like full-time baby sitters or cooks are typically covered. 

Resources for Employers and Breastfeeding Employees

Office on Women's Health: What Employers Need to Know

Office on Women's Health: What Breastfeeding Employees Need to Know

Lactation Break Time and Space in All Industries

The Business Case for Breastfeeding

Department of Labor Fact Sheet: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA

The Fair Labor Standards Act

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Athens Community Breastfeeding Coalition
189 Paradise Blvd
Athens, GA 30607
athenscommunitybreastfeeding@gmail.com