New Amendment To Fair Labor Standards Act Requires Employers To Provide Break Time For Nursing Mothers

On March 23, 2010 President Obama signed into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), which amends section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), to require employers to provide “a reasonable break time” for nursing mothers to express breast milk. The new amendment further requires that employers provide such breaks for one year after the child’s birth. In addition, it requires employers to provide a private place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which the employee may use to express breast milk. Employers are not required, however, to pay for these breastfeeding breaks under the PPACA.

Employers with less than 50 employees are exempt from the PPACA amendments to the FLSA if providing the break or place to express breast milk would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer by causing the employer “significant difficulty or expense” in light of the employer’s size, resources and business structure.

Effective immediately, employers should be aware of break requirements under the PPACA and consider what private locations they may be able to use to accommodate nursing mothers. In addition, employers should consult counsel in formulating appropriate practices and policies, especially in light of the PPACA’s failure to provide any guidance as to the definition of “reasonable break time” and its failure to set forth any limit to the number of breaks that may be taken per day.

As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice. For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.

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