New moms often face insurmountable hurdles, with a million new things to consider in everyday life. The stress is enhanced for working moms who head back to work after maternity leave.
Fortunately, breastfeeding moms returning to work have special entitlements under a particular law.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
On March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) to give nursing moms entitlements in the workplace.
Specifically, it requires certain employers to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express (pump) milk.”
Further, noted employers must also provide a place, “that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public” for mothers to express their milk.
The Act specifically states that such place cannot be a bathroom, even if the location is private.
Unfortunately, some employers are exempted from the mandates under the Act. Specifically, employers who have fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide break times for employee moms if the time off would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer.
Such undue hardship is determined by looking at various factors including but not limited to the cost to the employer to implement the accommodated weighed against its size, resources and business structure.
Do breaks need to be paid?
Under federal law, employers are not required to pay for breaktimes needed for nursing moms. However, if an employer normally provides compensated breaks during the workday, new moms can opt to use their paid breaks for pumping.
Differing state laws
It’s important to note that the above provisions are protections provided to working moms under federal law.
Unfortunately, the state of Florida does not provide any additional protections. New moms planning to return to work or who have returned and have questions about specific circumstances are encouraged to seek guidance from an experienced employment law attorney about their rights.