New Employer Obligations to Nursing Mothers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

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The Department of Labor recently issued a fact sheet addressing the new break time requirement for nursing mothers mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The PACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 and amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new FLSA amendments require all employers covered by FLSA to rovide “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 the need to express the milk.” Only on-exempt employees are entitled to breaks to express milk under the amended regulations. Moreover, employers are not required to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk unless they already provide compensated breaks. In that case, employees who use their break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.

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