August 4, 2020

Volume X, Number 217

August 03, 2020

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Washington Employers Must Provide Break Time and Space for Employees to Express Breast Milk

As of July 28, 2019, Washington employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk. (See House Bill 1930 and Revised Code of Washington 43.10.005.) Break time must be provided each time the employee needs to express breast milk, and must be provided for up to two years after the child’s birth. If the employer has space in its business or worksite, it must also provide a private location, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express milk; if no private space is available, the employer must work with the employee to find a convenient location and work schedule to accommodate her needs.

The new law’s accommodation provisions go beyond similar federal requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act by, for example, lengthening the amount of time that Washington employers must accommodate employees expressing milk from 1 year after the birth of a child to 2 years, and broadening coverage to employers with as few as 15 employees as opposed to the 50 -employee threshold under federal law.

Washington employers may want to review and revise their policies and practices to ensure that employees are provided reasonable break time to express break milk. Employers may also want to consider whether available space should be designated for the expression of breast milk.

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 259


About this Author

Bensy Benjamin Employment Attorney Ogletree

Bensy is an employment litigator in Ogletree Deakins’ Seattle office.  She represents employers in all aspects of employment litigation, including cases alleging Title VII discrimination; disability, age and military status discrimination; sexual harassment; retaliation for protected activity; wrongful discharge; wage and hour claims; FMLA violations; and breaches of non-competition agreements.  Bensy also represents companies in trade secret, unfair competition, breach of contract and other business-related litigation.

Bensy has substantial...

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Jaime has spent most of her career advising major corporations, whether in-house or at Ogletree.  Prior to starting with Ogletree Seattle, Jaime worked for Target Corporation in Human Resources for both the stores and distribution after college.  While working for Target Corp., she implemented HR policies and procedures for the stores, helped create a centralized recruiting program for the distribution centers, and worked extensively on employee relations issues.  Upon graduation from law school in 2004, Jaime began her legal career with the Atlanta office of Ogletree Deakins, after clerking with the Indianapolis office during law school.  At Ogletree, Jaime focused on many aspects of employment law including, employment litigation.  In 2010 and 2011, Jaime served as in-house counsel for Regis Corporation in Minneapolis, where she advised internal clients on handling employment disputes as well as implemented an internal wage and hour compliance program. 

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