Employment Discrimination Blog

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Providing Lactation Breaks Required of All GA Employers

Being a new mother and a working woman can be very difficult. But with the help of Georgia's newer law it just became a little easier. Under state law all Georgia employers are required to provide paid lactation breaks.

Under federal law, it was mandated that employers provided their female employees to take lactation breaks in a room other than a bathroom. Though lactation breaks were required under federal law, Georgia has chosen to further protect its employees.

Lactation Breaks Must Now Be Paid

For years there has been a lot of discussion and disagreement regarding breastfeeding in the workplace – and anywhere in public for that matter. But regardless of varying opinions, lactation and breastfeeding are a very natural part of motherhood for many women and as such, it’s important that they not be discriminated against in the workplace for handling such needs.

But although federal law requires lactation breaks, it was not required that such breaks be paid. In other words, while women could take a break to care for their lactation needs, they weren’t necessarily going to be paid for the duration of these breaks.

Georgia Expands the Law

Under Georgia’s relatively new law:

  • Employees must be given breaks of a “reasonable duration”
  • Breaks should be paid at their regular compensation rate
  • Breaks are not mandated when employees are working away from the main worksite
  • Employers cannot reduce pay or force employees to use paid leave to cover lactation breaks, even for salaried and exempt employees
  • A private location, other than a bathroom, needs to be provided

As for employers who have fewer than 50 employees, they are to follow this law so long as it does not cause “undue hardship” to their business. Generally speaking, whether or not such paid breaks would cause undue hardship will depend upon the facts of each case.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a nationwide worker shortage, it’s more evident than ever just how important it is to put people (employees) first. This new law is simply one effort to do just that. It is likely to be one of many issues that may have to be addressed. It remains to be seen just how much of an impact it will have.

The GA Employment Law Attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC Can Help

If you or a loved one believes that you have been wrongfully terminated, disciplined, or discriminated against because you took a lactation break, or if you were not paid for your lactation break, you may not know what to do or even how to proceed. However, it’s important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Georgia employment attorney.

Fortunately, the attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC understand the importance of such cases and are here to help walk you through the process. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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