By choice or necessity, many people today work and raise children. As such, women who give birth often want to return to work. However, many worry about how they will recover, give their new infants the care they need and perform their job duties. New mothers have protection in the workplace.
Understanding their rights in the workplace may help new mothers provide for their children, as well as their families.
According to the California Employment Development Department, new mothers who take time off after the birth of a child may receive up to eight weeks of partial wage replacement through the state’s paid family leave. Eligible parents receive these benefits for the time taken to bond with a child welcomed through birth, foster care placement or adoption. Parents may use paid family leave all at once or they may split the time up over a 12-month period.
According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, employers must provide reasonable breaks to employees who need to express milk. Except when such breaks run concurrently with rest time already provided, employers do not have to pay new mothers for these breaks.
Employers must also provide a space for new mothers to express milk. The location or room should be clean, safe and shielded from view. It cannot contain any hazardous materials, nor can it be a bathroom.
Most employers comply with these accommodations willingly and without issues. If new mothers feel their employers have violated their rights, however, they may consider actions such as filing formal claims to recover compensation or otherwise see such wrongs redressed.