Breaks for Breastfeeding Part of Health Care Reform?


Yes, that is right, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590), signed into law on March 23, 2010, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require employers to provide reasonable unpaid breaks to nursing mothers. Previously, the FLSA did not require that employers provide breaks, but now employers must provide reasonable, unpaid break time and a private space for mothers to express breast milk.

This requirement applies to all employers covered by the FLSA; however, there is an exception for small employers. Small employers are those covered by the FLSA, but with less than 50 employees. These employers need not comply with the new requirements if doing so would impose an undue hardship.

The breaks must be provided for nursing mothers for up to one year after a child's birth. While it appears that employers need not provide such breaks for exempt "white collar" employees under the FLSA, employers that do provide such breaks must be sure not to lose the exemption for such employees by improperly docking such employees' salary.

In addition to providing "reasonable break time," covered employers must also provide space, "other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public." Employers should begin to proactively identify possible private locations for nursing mothers.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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