Q. I know we have to provide milk-expression breaks for new moms, and we do. But now a new mother is having her mother, who babysits, bring the baby in twice a day to nurse. These breaks go more than 30 minutes as the baby is passed around, etc. Can we just tell her to express and refrigerate the milk? — E.P., Pennsylvania
A. The 2010 health care law requires employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.” The law doesn’t say you have to allow the child to enter the workplace, nor does it define “reasonable” break times.
You should have a private meeting with the employee, her supervisor and HR to discuss your concerns. Explain that your organization is committed to providing breaks, but clarify that the purpose of the break is for expressing breast milk, not for co-workers to visit with the baby. Check to see if your state law offers further protection. Read more about the federal law in U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet #73.