Guidance for Employers with Pregnant or Breastfeeding Employees

Guidance for Employers with Pregnant or Breastfeeding Employees

Employer Responsibilities: Pregnant Employees

Employer Responsibilities: Pregnant Employees

New York State employers with more than four employees may not fire an employee because she is pregnant. As an employer, you may not change an employee’s terms, conditions, and privileges of employment because of the employee’s pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. You also may not refuse to hire an applicant because she is pregnant.

As an employer, you are required to provide pregnant workers with requested reasonable accommodations for any pregnancy-related conditions, including:

  • occasional breaks to rest or drink water,
  • a modified work schedule,
  • leave for related medical needs,
  • available light duty assignments, and
  • transfers away from hazardous duty.

You must provide employees who take leave due to a pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition the right to return. You may not require you a pregnant employee to remain on leave until you give birth, and you must hold the pregnant employee’s job for as long as you hold jobs for employees who take leave for other reasons.

For more information on your responsibilities as an employer, call the Division of Human Rights at 1-888-392-3644.

Employer Responsibilities: Breastfeeding Employees

Employer Responsibilities: Breastfeeding Employees

New York State employers may not treat employees differently just because they are breastfeeding. State law guarantees nursing mothers break time to pump breast milk at work.

  • As an employer, you must allow breastfeeding mothers to use paid break or meal times or reasonable unpaid break times to pump milk.
  • You must provide employees with a private room or other location close to the employees’ work area where they can pump breast milk, unless it would be extremely difficult for an employer to do so.
  • You cannot discriminate against employees who choose to pump milk at work or retaliate against employee who assert their rights to do so.

For more information, visit:

Paid Family Leave

Paid Family Leave

In 2016, former Governor Cuomo signed into law the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave policy, giving employers a cost-free mechanism for supporting workers in times of family need.

As of January 1, 2018, most private employers in New York State were required to secure Paid Family Leave insurance coverage, which is fully funded by employees. Public employers may choose to offer Paid Family Leave.

New York’s Paid Family Leave provides job-protected, paid time off so employees can:

  • bond with a newly born, adopted or fostered child;
  • care for a close relative with a serious health condition; or
  • assist loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military service.

Paid Family Leave has been shown to improve employee morale and retention, which reduces costs.

For more information and resources for employers, visit:

Downloadable Guides

Downloadable Guides

Do You Have Pregnant or Breastfeeding Employees? Know Your Responsibilities


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