Employment Law Trending Now – Illinois Employers Must Now Pay for Breaks of Nursing Mothers


On August 21, 2018, the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 260/1, et seq. (the “Act”), was amended to provide nursing mothers with greater rights to paid break time. The amendment now requires Illinois employers who have five or more employees to pay for “reasonable” break time for nursing mothers to express milk for their infant child. Absent an “undue hardship” on the employer caused by the breaks, the breaks must be permitted for one year after birth.

The amended Act differs from the prior version of the Act in a few important respects:

Prior Version of the Act
2018 Amendment
Paid vs. Unpaid Breaks Unpaid Paid
Time period breaks must be allowed Not defined 1 year after birth
Break time to run concurrently with other break time Break time "must, if possible, run concurrently with any break time aleady provided" Break time "may" run concurrently with other break time
Valid basis for employer's refusal to provide break time If the break would "unduly disrupt the employer's operations" If the breaks would cause the "undue hardship" on the employer (a higher standard that the prior version of the Act)

What Employers Should Know

Illinois employers with five or more employees are advised to immediately update their policies to comply with the amended Act. Deductions may no longer be taken from employee pay for breaks taken by nursing mothers to express milk. Nursing breaks must be allowed by employers for up to one year.

If you have any questions about this Alert, or if you would like assistance in updating your policies or otherwise complying with the Act, please contact the author listed below or the Aronberg Goldgehn attorney with whom you work.

Amy M. Gibson

Maryam H. Arfeen

To view a PDF copy of this alert, please CLICK HERE.

© 2018 Aronberg Goldgehn. All rights reserved. The above material is intended for general information and promotional purposes, and should not berelied on or construed as professional advice. Under the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, the above information may be considered advertising material. The transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not create, a lawyer-client relationship.

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