Many women are eager to get back into the workforce after giving birth. In this case, their employers must follow rules established by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it comes to nursing breaks.
It is crucial that employers are aware of their obligations. Working mothers should also be aware of these laws, as it ensures they can take the proper steps to address any violations.
Which employers must follow this law?
In general, all employers with 50 or more workers are beholden to FLSA regulations. There are some exceptions, and employers can present arguments against providing breaks in limited circumstances. For example, workplaces that can establish that nursing breaks would result in an undue hardship may be exempt.
Which workers are eligible for nursing breaks?
All staff members who receive coverage from the FLSA must have access to nursing breaks as needed. In general, that means that any workers who are eligible for overtime pay are likely also eligible for nursing breaks. Even if an employee is exempt, state laws might stipulate additional regulations when it comes to nursing breaks.
What obligations does the employer have?
The area designed for nursing breaks must be private. That means other staff members, as well as customers and the public, cannot happen upon it. However, the space cannot be a bathroom, even if it meets the privacy criteria. Employers must provide nursing breaks as needed, and breaks must be long enough to allow the employee to sufficiently express milk. Compensation is not necessary for nursing breaks generally, but the worker should receive compensation if they would normally.
Keep in mind that this space does not need to be a permanent fixture within a workplace. Provided that it meets the above criteria, the employer can establish a temporary nursing area to meet the needs of their staff when necessary.