Know Your Legal Rights

City of Madison

City of Madison, WI Ordinance 23.37 Interfering with breastfeeding prohibited

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother or her surrogate may breastfeed her child and may express breastmilk in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother or her surrogate and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. Any person who intentionally interferes with a mother’s or her surrogate’s attempts to breastfeed her child or to express breastmilk, except the owner or resident of a private home or residence, shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than $25.00 nor more than $250.00 for each such violation.

Wisconsin Breastfeeding Laws

1995 Wisconsin Act 165 
Under current law, there are various prohibitions against lewd behavior or 
sexual gratification in public. This bill specifies that those prohibitions do not apply 
to a mother's breast-feeding of her child. 
2009 Wis. Laws, Act 148
 provides that a mother may breastfeed her child in any public or private location where the mother and child are otherwise authorized to be. The law specifies that in such a location, no person may prohibit a mother from breastfeeding her child, direct a mother to move to a different location to breastfeed her child, direct a mother to cover her child or breast while breastfeeding, or otherwise restrict a mother from breastfeeding her child.

Prohibiting a mother from breastfeeding can result in a general penalty provision provided under this law of a fine not greater than $200.

Breastfeeding in public is legal in all states in the U.S.

WORKPLACE PUMPING RIGHTS (Not yet passed into law)

2017 AB 193/SB 147 – AN ACT to create 103.12, 106.54 (11) and 111.91 (2) (gp) of the statutes; relating to: requiring an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee who is breast−feeding her child to express breast milk for the child.

This proposal was introduced by Rep. Lisa Subeck and co-sponsored by Rep. Joan Ballweg and Sen. Julie Lassa.  The bill, if passed into law, will help to ensure that both salaried and waged employees the right to unpaid break time to breastfeed or express their milk and that eligibility for employer-sponsored health insurance is maintained.

Federal Breastfeeding Laws

Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”) amended section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. The break time requirement became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The Wage and Hour Fact Sheet #73 “Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA” and the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) posted below provide basic information about the law. 

Frequently Asked Questions about this law:

The Business Case for Breastfeeding Toolkit for managers

The Business Case for Breastfeeding: Employees Guide

  • How to talk to your supervisor about the need to pump
  • Finding a pumping space

Time and space solutions for pumping at your place of employment
Industry Solutions – creative ideas for different industries (retail, education, construction, etc.) 

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