A provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010, took immediate effect and amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to require all employers covered by the act to provide unpaid break time to nursing mothers for the first year following a child’s birth.
Specifically, this provision requires employers to provide nursing mothers with a reasonable break time to express milk for a nursing child and a location to do so. The nursing location must be a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. Employers are not required to compensate an employee receiving break time for any work time spent for expressing milk.
This new federal provision will not apply to employers with less than 50 employees, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. However, employers also should familiarize themselves with applicable state and local laws, which might be more far-reaching.