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Home » Employment Law: Library » Newsbriefs

Health Care Reform Law Amends FLSA to Require Breastfeeding Breaks

Date Posted: March 24, 2010
Employers must now provide "reasonable" unpaid breaks to nursing mothers to express milk for their infants under an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act included in the landmark health care law signed by President Obama on March 23.

The health care law adds a new provision to the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. §207(r)(1), which allows nursing mothers to take a break every time they need to express breast milk and requires employers to provide a private location, other than a bathroom, where such employees may express milk. Employees must be allowed such breaks for up to one year after their child's birth.

Employers of fewer than 50 employees are exempt if the breastfeeding requirements would "impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense."

A number of states already mandate breastfeeding breaks, and under the FLSA, employers must comply with the standard that is more favorable to the employee (29 U.S.C. §218).

The health care law also amends the FLSA to require employers of more than 200 employees to automatically enroll new employees in existing employer-offered health plans. In addition, effective March 1, 2013, all employers will be required to provide new employees written notice about applicable health insurance "exchanges."

These and other topics will be covered in greater depth in upcoming issues of Thompson's Employer's Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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