Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor released Fact Sheet #73 about Break Times for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) went into effect on March 23, 2010, amending part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under this law, employers are required to provide “reasonable break time” to a non-exempt employee to express breast milk for up to a year following the child’s birth. “Reasonable break time” is flexible and varies in frequency and duration according to the mother’s needs.
Further, employers need to provide a private space other than a bathroom to shield the woman from coworkers and the public. Employers are not required to pay employees for this break time unless the employer already provides compensated break time.
This law applies to employers with at least fifty employees. Employers with less than fifty employees are only free from following the law if they can establish providing the time and private space would create an undue burden on the employer.
The full text of the Fact Sheet can be found on the Department of Labor website.
If you feel that you have not been allowed proper breaks by your employer, you should consider speaking with an employment attorney to learn about your rights.