New legislation in New Hampshire will guarantee the right of nursing mothers to an unpaid break of 30 minutes to pump for every three hours of work beginning July 1, 2025.
This new state law comes in the wake of the 2022 federal PUMP Act, which requires employers nationwide to provide employees with reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after a child’s birth.
Like the federal PUMP Act, the New Hampshire law will also require employers to provide nursing employees with appropriate spaces in the workplace for a period of one year following the birth of the child.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed the bill, HB 358, into law on August 4, 2023. Under the law, all employers with at least six employees working in New Hampshire will be required to adopt policies to address the use of sufficient space and reasonable break periods for nursing employees that need to express milk during working hours. Employers will be required to make this policy available to employees at the time of hire.
“Expression of milk” is a defined term under the law. The law’s definition explicitly excludes breastfeeding, instead referring only to initiation of lactation by manual or mechanical means. As always, employers should consider whether there are other state or local laws that provide more generous rights regarding breastfeeding.
Employees will be required to give their employer at least two weeks’ notice prior to needing break periods and space.
The space provided to express milk must be within a reasonable walk of the employee’s worksite unless a different location is mutually agreed to by the employer and employee. The space cannot be a bathroom and must be a clean space shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.
Employees cannot be required to make up time related to use of this break period. Employees will have the option of taking their break period contemporaneously with break or meal periods already provided by the employer. Employers and employees may negotiate different terms for reasonable break periods than provided by the law.
The law provides employers a single exemption from its terms, only for instances in which providing a reasonable break period and sufficient space would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s operations. The law defines “undue hardship” as any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as the size of the business, its financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.
New Hampshire employers should consider their obligations under both the federal PUMP Act and this new state law. If you have any questions about navigating your obligations under lactation accommodation laws, please reach out to a Jackson Lewis lawyer.