An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act included in
the recent Health Care reform law imposes a new requirement on the workplace.
Employers must now provide "reasonable" unpaid breaks to nursing mothers in the
first year after birth. The health care law adds a new provision to the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §207(r)(1), which allows nursing mothers to take a break every
time they need to express breast milk and requires employers to provide a
private location, other than a bathroom, where such employees may
express milk. This provision under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act amended the FLSA effective March 23, 2010.
Employers of fewer than 50 employees are exempt if the
breastfeeding requirements would "impose an undue hardship by causing the
employer significant difficulty or expense." You can read more on the U.S.
Department of Labor Website, Fact Sheet #73: Break
Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA
The new legislation only covers women who are paid
hourly, not a salary, although some state laws cover both. If you work in a
state that is more favorable to the employee than the federal law, you'll need
to follow your own state's rule. Here's a link to all the state
breastfeeding rules. Twenty-four states have laws related to breastfeeding
in the workplace: Arkansas, California,
Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York,
North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington and Wyoming, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29
U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:
(r)(1) An employer shall provide-
1. a reasonable break time for an employee to express
breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time
such employee has need to express the milk; and
2. 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.
(2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an
employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time
spent for such purpose.
(3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall
not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements
would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty
or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources,
nature, or structure of the employer's business.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law
that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided
for under this subsection.
Section 7 of
the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207)
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