An amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires employers to provide new mothers with reasonable time and a clean, private space where they can express milk for up to one year after giving birth.
The place must be private, shielded from view and free from intrusion. However, the FLSA does not require the space to be permanent or capable of being locked. An employer can create a temporary space for this purpose as long as it is shielded from view and protected from intrusion. A bathroom is not a permissible location, even if it is private and free from intrusion.
Businesses with less than 50 employees can be exempt from these requirements if complying with them would “impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the employer’s business.” Additionally, the law only applies to nursing mothers who are not exempt under the overtime laws. The law does not require the break to be paid, but if you have other paid breaks, the nursing mother may use them to express milk.
Now is the time to determine:
- whether the law applies to you;
- which of your employees qualifies for the breaks;
- where can the private space be situated; and
- whether the law imposes an “undue hardship”.