This morning I’m updating and synergizing two of last week’s posts: Do we really need to pump up workplace lactation rights? and House passes Health Care Bill – What does this mean for employers?
Section 4207 [pdf] (on page 1217) adds a new provision to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which will require employers to provide reasonable unpaid breaks for nursing mothers. Specifically:
Unpaid breaks must be provided each time a lactating employee needs to express breast milk for up to 1 year after the child’s birth.
The employer must provide the employee with a place that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public other than a bathroom.
These requirements are mandatory for employers with 50 or more employees.
Employers with less than 50 employees are exempt upon a showing that the requirements impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.
Because federal law now requires most employers to provide lactation breaks, it’s clear that we do not need a state law raising lactation to a protected class.