“Under an amendment to the state labor law that took effect June 19, 2024, New York employers must now provide up to 30 minutes of paid lactation break time “each time such employee has reasonable need to express breast milk.” The amended law – which previously only required business to provide reasonable unpaid break time for such purpose – does not cap the amount of paid lactation breaks to which an employee is entitled and guidance issued by the New York State Department of Labor suggests that employees may be entitled to multiple paid lactation breaks in a given day, so long as the employee “reasonably need[s]” the break. Employers must also allow employees to use existing paid break or meal time for breast milk expression in excess of 30 minutes.

Under the amended law, employers are required to provide employees with notice of their right to take such leave at hire, once a year after hire, and whenever an employee returns to work following the birth of a child. In addition, employers are also required to maintain a written lactation policy detailing employees’ rights under applicable New York State and City law.

New York employers should immediately review their lactation break policies and practices to ensure they appropriately reflect this latest update in the law.