Preventive Law for Employers
Federal Employment Law

New federal law requires unpaid breaks for nursing mothers

The health insurance reform bill signed last week by the president contains an employment law change. Section 4207 amends the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to mandate unpaid breaks for expressing milk, in a location other than a toilet stall. Because it is part of the FLSA, its provisions apply to almost all employers, although those with fewer than 50 workers will not be covered if they can show that compliance would cause undue hardship.

I am not sure what the effective date is. When I find out, I will let you know.

Here’s the text of the new section:


Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(r)(1) An employer shall provide—
‘‘(A) a reasonable break time for an employee to express
breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s
birth each time such employee has need to express the milk;
‘‘(B) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from
view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public,
which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
‘‘(2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an
employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for
any work time spent for such purpose.
‘‘(3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall
not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, if such requirements
would 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
‘‘(4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that
provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided
for under this subsection.’’.

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