Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DOL Issues Fact Sheet on Break Time for Nursing Mothers

Lawffice Space readers may recall a March 2010 post in which I detailed numerous Health Care Bill Easter Eggs. One provision tucked away in the new health care law provides for "reasonable break time for nursing mothers." Now, the Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance in the form of Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA.

The bottom line is that employers need to provide break time for nursing mothers to express milk as frequently as needed. Employers must also provide space (bathrooms do not count) that is available to the mother when needed and "shielded from view, and free from any intrusion from co-workers and the public."

It is also important to note what the new law does not do and who is not covered. The new law does not apply to employees who are exempt from the overtime pay requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It does not apply to employers with more than 50 employees but only "if compliance with the provision would impose an undue hardship." And, employers are not obligated to compensate nursing mothers for this break time (unless the employer ordinarily compensates employees for break time).

For additional coverage on this topic see:
- Ohio Employer's Law Blog
- Connecticut Employment Law Blog

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.