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Are milk expression breaks mandatory?

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Q. I know a number of states already have laws that require employers to provide unpaid breaks to nursing mothers to express breast milk. Are there any federal laws providing for similar requirements?

A. Yes. Recently, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—the health care reform law. The act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by requiring employers to provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child, each time she has such a need, for up to one year after the child’s birth.

Employers must also provide a place other than a restroom for employees to express breast milk. The area must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.

The law, which applies to all employers subject to the FLSA, does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees if the requirement would impose an undue hardship. That means it would cause the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of its business.

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