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FLSA Amended To Mandate Breaks For Nursing Mothers

Posted by Marc Smith | May 03, 2010 | 0 Comments

Although it has largely flown under the radar, a section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act recently signed by President Obama amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) to require employers to provide rest breaks and space for employees who are nursing mothers to express breast milk.   Employers need not pay for the break. No minimum break length is specified, but the break must be a “reasonable” length of time. Employers are required to provide places for the breaks that are “shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public,” and the location cannot be a bathroom.   The employee must be permitted to take a break each time she needs to express milk. The break requirement extends for one year after the child is born.

An employer with fewer than 50 workers would be excluded from the requirement if allowing the breaks would cause “undue hardship.” This condition is met only if the employer will face significant difficulty or expense in light of the employer's size, financial resources, nature or business structure — a fairly rigorous standard.

Until this amendment, rest breaks were regulated by state law and the FLSA did not require employers to provide breaks or meal periods to workers. The amendment to the FLSA (29 U.S.C. section 207(r)(1)), changes that.

The amendment is effective immediately.

About the Author

Marc Smith

Marc J. Smith is a Rockville, Maryland employment attorney and a founding member of the law firm formerly known as Smith, Lease & Goldstein, LLC. In 2018, after 18 years managing Smith, Lease & Goldstein, LLC's employment counseling and litigation practice, Marc launched his own boutique practice...

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Representation Of Employers And Employees

The Law Office of Marc J. Smith, LLC is a boutique employment law practice based in downtown Rockville, Maryland near the Montgomery County Circuit and District Courts. The Firm’s practice focuses exclusively in the employment law arena and provides counseling, litigation and a wide range of other employment-related services to employers and employees throughout the State of Maryland, Washington D.C. and other jurisdictions. The Firm also represents individuals who have failed to register with the Selective Service System and who are trying to apply for or maintain federal employment.

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