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Breaks: Rest Periods for Expression of Breast Milk
The Oregon Legislature enacted ORS 653.077 in 2007 which requires employers with 25 or more employees to provide additional time for rest periods for the purpose of expressing breast milk. OAR 839-020-0051 sets out specific rules for these additional rest periods.
Q. How long must an employer provide this additional time?
A. A covered employer must provide reasonable rest periods to accommodate an employee who needs to express milk for their child until they reach 18 months of age.
Q. What is a reasonable rest period?
A. A reasonable rest period is defined as no less than 30 minutes during each 4-hour work period or major part of a 4-hour work period and is to be taken by the employee approximately in the middle of the work period. This rest period is required for both non-exempt and exempt employees.
Q. My employees get a paid 10-minute rest period. Does this mean I need to pay my employee for the additional 20 minutes on the rest period?
A. No, you are not required to pay the employee for the full 30-minute rest period. You must treat the rest periods used by the employee for expressing milk as paid rest periods, up to the amount of time the employer is required to provide as paid rest periods. In other words, you must pay the employee for the usual 10-minute rest period. The other 20 minutes may be unpaid. If the employee takes unpaid rest periods, the employer may allow the employee to work before or after her normal shift to make up the amount of time used during the unpaid portion of the rest periods. If the employee does not work to make up this time, the employer is not required to compensate the employee for the time.
Q. My employee does not want to work before or after her shift to make up the unpaid time for the rest periods. May I require her to use paid leave time?
A. No.
Q. Do I need to make any accommodations to my worksite for my employee to express milk?
A. An employer subject to ORS 653.077 must make a reasonable effort to provide the employee with a private location within close proximity to the employee’s work area to express milk. A “private location” is a place, other than a public restroom or toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work station, where the employee may express milk concealed from view and without intrusion by other employees or the public. This could include the employee’s work area; a room connected to a public restroom (such as a lounge); a child care facility; an empty or unused office, conference room, or storage space. An employer must allow the employee to bring a cooler or other insulated container to store the expressed milk. If the employer allows employees to use a refrigerator for personal use, the employee must be permitted (but may not be required by the employer) to use the available refrigeration to store the milk.

Updated January 2018

Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice.  Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations.  This communication is not an agency order.  If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.  We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current.  We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.