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What must we do to accommodate a nursing mother in our workplace?

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources,Maternity Leave Laws

Q. One of our employees just returned from maternity leave and is now requesting that we accommodate her need to pump breast milk during the workday. Do we have to make this accommodation?

A. Section 4207 of the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the health care reform law) adds a new provision to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid breaks for lactating mothers.

Specifically, all employers with 50 or more employees must provide:

  • Unpaid breaks each time an employee needs to express breast milk for up to one year after the child’s birth
  • A place, other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.

Employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt if they can show that these requirements impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense relative to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the employer’s business.

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