Friday, July 6, 2012
Lactation Intolerant Employers Beware!
After giving birth, a mother who wants to breastfeed may be concerned about expressing milk at work. It may come as a surprise, but the recent health care reform may provide a nursing mother the best of both worlds. The controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, took effect on March 23, 2010. Within its vast text, a provision, amending Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), granted nursing mothers protection against lactation discrimination in the workplace. Codified in 29 U.S.C. §207(r), employers are now required to make accommodations for nursing mothers. The federal mandate requires employers to allow nursing mothers to take unpaid break times to express milk as needed. In addition, an employer must provide a private location, other than a bathroom, for the nursing mother. However, like every law, there are various limitations. An employer is only required to provide the above accommodations for one year following the birth of a child. The provision only applies to employees who are covered under FLSA overtime pay. Some employers may be exempt if they have less than 50 employees and can show undue hardship. For more information in regards to coverage under the nursing mothers provision you can review the Fact Sheet issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor which is accessible by clicking here.
The FLSA now requires employers to accommodate nursing mothers, but the question that remains is how the court will provide a remedy for non-compliance or discrimination. For for an in depth look at what the provision fails to prove click here.