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Please help. My friend is not allowed to pump at work?!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

My friend lives in NM. They won't provide her with a break at work to pump. They claim it's becuase the business is less than 50 people. I don't understand how they can get away with that! She's not only risking her supply but risking mastitis too. Plus it's just freaking uncomfortable to not pump.

What can she do?! If it were me I wouldn't take the break, I'd just pump at my desk lol. I'm allowed to pump or nurse whereever  I'm legally allowed to be, right?

Oh my goodness this is making me insane. I'm outraged for her.

post #2 of 27

Wow!  Apparently the employer is legally in the clear:




The federal government allows laws regarding breaks to be decided on a state-by-state basis.  USA! USA! USA! irked.gif


I think she should pump at her desk.  I'm sure the employer will back down after the first instance.  What a load of bunk!

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 

Well. Thank you for your vallient effort.

post #4 of 27

What kind of job does your friend have and what kind of shifts is she working?  She should be legally entitled to some break time, no matter what.


I don't know what the laws are in NM, but in my state, when you are on break, you are not working, and the employer has no right to restrict where you go or what you do during that time.  If she has a place to go (even just her car), she can pump there.


If her employer is chintzy about breaks, my suggestion is that she start going "for coffee" or "out for a smoke" when she needs to pump.  Also that she look into local law and consider filing a complaint with the local authorities.


And finally, IMO, your friend should look for another job.  One with more reasonable employers.  I know the economy sucks, and I know that good jobs are hard to find, but sometimes the only way to improve the situation is to get yourself out of it.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 

She is a massage therepist. I think most of her shifts are only 5 hours long. But even when I worked at mcdonalds they had to give you a break for a 5 hour shift, or pay you 15 mins longer than you stayed, kwim? But typically they'd work hard to let you have your break in the middle of your shift somewhere.

post #6 of 27

Oh man.  That could get (pardon my literalism) so sticky.  I start to leak when I'm engorged, and I've sometimes gotten so engorged that I have trouble moving my arms past my chest.  Giving massages under those conditions would suck.


I think her employers have made a bad and unintelligent choice here.  Massage therapists need some time to stretch and wash up between appointments at the very least.  The table needs to be wiped down and the room tidied up before the next client comes in.  It shouldn't be a problem to schedule her so that she has a fifteen to twenty minute break between clients at least once a day, and to allow her to use one of the massage rooms to pump during that time.


I still think the best idea would be for her to find a new job.

post #7 of 27

Man I am so angry for your friend too! I heard that there are some mandated pump break policies in the works right now, although that doesn't help her. I would agree with the PP's who said she should do it during her break time...she should be getting 15 minutes every 4 hours and the employer has NO right to tell employees how to spend their break time. I hope she finds a solution.

post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 

I don't think they give her a break at all in that 5 hours. Plus she said it takes 30 mins to pump. But still , 15 is better than none of course.

post #9 of 27

Wow. The only thing I can think of is: is your friend an actual employee of this company (ie Massage Envy, which actually hires the MTs as employees) or is she a contractor? The latter is a very common arrangement, and if that's the case, she has more say over when she works. She can insist on breaks in between appts, or block out a half hour chunk in the morning, or something. NM has a lot of MTs, which unfortunately leaves them in a slightly precarious position. Does she live in a city (ie Albuquerque)? I know a number of MTs in that city (I was one myself) and they have managed to cobble together a variety of employment scenarios, including working at Whole Foods (with a chair at the front of the store), at a chiropractor's, sharing time and rent in their own offices, teaching, etc. My point being is that she might have more options available to her than this one non-breastfeeding-friendly employer. 


post #10 of 27
This is so, so annoying. Just because they don't have 50 employees... grrrr... no chance they are part of a larger corporation that DOES have 50+ employees, and just using that as a cop-out?

How old is your friend's baby?

Is she able to pump immediately before & after her shift? How far away is work from her home?

Is she able to move her shift to a different time of day? Is there a time of day her baby tends to nurse less anyway, so not being able to pump would more closely mimic her baby's nursing patterns?

Does she have to do any desk work at some point during her shift? Is there some kind of special project she could take on for the company, that would give her more deskwork (so she could pump while doing it?)

How much time does she have between clients? I'm assuming she has at least enough time to run to the bathroom... I wonder if at least pumping with a hand-pump for a few minutes in between clients would be enough to relieve engorgement & keep her supply up...
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 

Crunchy. I'm not sure on some of your questions, like how far away she lives, etc. But she said that some days she has time to sit, and some days it's just go go go. One client after another. She doens't sit for 5 hours. :( I will suggest the hand expressing thing. I agree that would at least relieve the worst of the pain and takes 5 min.

Her baby is around 4 months.


Annie i'm not sure :(


I'm gonna link her this thread.

post #12 of 27

She *should* have time to do paperwork on her clients. It's legally required, and even if the employers don't care about the laws, I bet they do care about potential lawsuits and paperwork can help their case. Plus, you need time to wash your hands, spray the table down, and change the sheets in between clients. 10-15 mins or so. I can see how pumping wouldn't fit into that. I hope she finds a solution. 4 months. Jeez.

post #13 of 27

For a four month old, her supply probably won't drop because of a five or six hour break, although it can certainly make her uncomfortable. Does she drive to work? She could pump on her way to/from work. A lot of the breast pumps have car power adapters (all the Medelas do) or batteries that can be used. It also depends on her comfort level pumping while driving but I know women who do it with a handsfree bra and nursing cover or blanket. If she nurses right before she leaves and when she gets home, she could just pump a little bit to relieve the pressure although it doesn't do her a lot of good while she's actually at work. If this is a regular thing she will probably also find that going 5 or so hours will gradually get more comfortable. This isn't the greatest situation and it's awful that she can't pump at work to begin with but I can also understand how important keeping the job is to her.  

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yeah she needs her job. She was very upset to have to go back at all. I was so happy to be in canada. A year paid mat leave?? Not complaining at all. Saves a ton of trouble. At a year 5 hours is no biggie. At 4 months, not cool.

I think it would be counter productive to pump on her drive home. I mean, soon as she gets home she could nurse, right? Grr.

I'm just hoping she doesn't give up because of this. She seems a little jaded, like people have no respect for BFing.

post #15 of 27
OK DH & I were talking about this last night & thought of another possible solution for her. Is there any way she can pick up an extra hour in her shift? Then she would be working 6-hour shifts and they would be legally required to give her a break. It still might not be the full1/2 hour she needs but it would be better than 1-minute bathroom breaks!!!
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 

Maybe. But isn't she already entitled to a 15 min break for a 5  hour shift? And they aren't doing that.

post #17 of 27
From what I can tell, NM laws do not require employers to give breaks, and the federal law I believe is that they are required to give a break if you work more than 6 hours. But maybe I'm wrong -- if she's already entitled to a break she needs to make sure she gets it!!!
post #18 of 27



They're not required to give breaks at all, for any length of shift.

post #19 of 27

I think I would be taking a manual into the bathroom with me and doing 5 min per side, in the stall. Something is better than nothing.

post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yeah I agree lol. Take a bit of an extended bathroom break. Say your lunch isn't agreeing with you or something lol.

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