Earlier this year, President Obama signed a law which requires employers to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers. This new employment law right is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), a federal law which requires employers to pay minimum wage to most employees, and overtime pay to most employees who work more than 40 hours per week.
The new law requires companies to give nursing mothers breaks each time the employee needs to express milk. It applies for up to one year after the birth of a child. However, employers are not required to pay employees during these breaks.
Employers also must give nursing mothers a place that is hidden from view and free from intrusion from other employees or the public. The law specifically says that the place cannot be a bathroom.
The law applies to all employers, but companies with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the requirement if it would be an undue hardship. This means that the break time causes the company significant difficulty or expense, compared to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the company’s business.