Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New FLSA Amendment in Health Care Reform Bills Requires "Reasonable Break Time" for Nursing Mothers

Included within the two health care reform bills signed into law by President Obama on March 23 and March 30, 2010, was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires employers to provide nursing mothers with "reasonable break time" to pump breast milk for up to one year after the birth of a child.

This new FLSA provision does not define what constitutes a "reasonable" break time, or what seperate penalties may be imposed for an employer's failure to provide such time. The amendment does provide for a exemption for employers with less than 50 employees, if the employer can show that the requirements would impose an "undue hardship."

It is expected that the Department of Labor will be promulgating regulations sometime in the future to guide employers in the application and interpretation of this requirement.