Employers Must Provide Nursing Mothers with Specific Considerations under Federal Health Care Reform Legislation

Posted by in Compensation & Benefits, Equal Employment Opportunity | Comments Off on Employers Must Provide Nursing Mothers with Specific Considerations under Federal Health Care Reform Legislation

Among the many provisions of the recently passed federal health care reform bill, nursing mothers who are employees are to be given “reasonable” break time and the privacy to express breast milk for their nursing children. That privacy must be other than a bathroom and for as much as a year following the children’s birth.

This provision modifies the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including the previous rule that employees should be compensated for short rest breaks. Nursing mothers can be exempted from that compensation. In addition, employers with less than 50 employees may not be subject to this “nursing mother” provision of health care reform if it causes a hardship in the workplace.

Some state laws protect employees’ health care rights even further, including breastfeeding on the job. Employers are encouraged to determine their exact compliance of federal and state statues.

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