Articles Posted in Breastfeeding

Back in 2010, when the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended to require a “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 the milk.”

Generally, employers are not required to compensate an employee for the break time to express milk, and an employer with fewer than 50 employees does not have to comply with the rule if it would pose an undue hardship.

One more minor caveat — of which I must admit, I was not aware — the law only covers non-exempt employees. (Although, I imagine that most businesses afford the same dignity to exempt employees too).

But just in case, Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D) has introduced the Supporting Working Moms Act of 2013, which will further amend the FLSA to provide exempt moms with the same PPACA/FLSA right to express breast milk at work provided to their non-exempt counterparts.

** Must fight urge to…aw hell **

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-OwMoAsP38

'Expressed breast milk' photo (c) 2007, Hamish Darby - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/HEY! Which one of you just threw that breast pump at my head?

[annnnnnnd cue music]

** Dons sensitivity invisibility cloak **

Nearly two years ago, I wrote here about how the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to require companies to afford employees a “reasonable break time” in a private room (but, not a bathroom — ick!) to “express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth.”

But if an employer violates the law by not provide what the FLSA now requires, can an employee sue? The answer, according to an Iowa federal court is: Corn! No.

In Salz v. Casey’s Marketing Company, the court held that since: (1) employers are not required to compensate employees while they are expressing milk; and (2) the FLSA limits recovery to unpaid wages, there is nothing for a private litigant, deprived of a place to express breast milk, to recover from an employer. Plus, the Department of Labor, in this Guidance, limits an employee to filing claims directly with the Department.

For some tips on what employers can do to avoid the wrath of the Department of Labor, check out my tips.

UPDATE: The plaintiff’s FLSA retaliation claim survived the employer’s motion to dismiss.

Family FunechaThat according to a a new survey from The National Partnership for Women & Families.

The survey compared how state-based rights and protections compare to the 12 weeks of leave for new and expecting parents provided by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the protections provided by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), and the right to express breast milk at work provided to some nursing mothers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The report card covers all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. No state earned an A. Only 1/3 scored a C- or higher, while more than 1/3 flat-out failed. The highest grades went to California and Connecticut, each earning an A-. Locally, New Jersey ranked near the top with a B+, while Pennsylvania scraped by with a D.

(h/t Christian Schappel)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney [D-NY14] is at it again.

A sponsor of a bill that would greatly expand the scope and reach of the FMLA, Rep. Maloney has co-sponsored another bill, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011, which would amend both the Fair Labor Standards Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breastfeeding by nursing new mothers.

'Expressed breast milk' photo (c) 2007, Hamish Darby - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is part of Title VII, it is already illegal to discriminate in the workplace “because of sex” or “on the basis of sex,” which includes, but is not limited to, because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 would amend Title VII to explicitly include “lactation.”

The proposed legislation would also expand the breastfeeding provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover salaried office workers.

According to a press release from Rep. Maloney, the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 would cover an additional approximate 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional women in the workplace.

Employers that need more information on breastfeeding in the workplace, can check out these other posts at http://www.theemployerhandbook.com:

Last month, the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a request for public comments on its preliminary interpretations of a new provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires employers to provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time and a private space for expressing breast milk while at work.

For more information about this new requirement for employers, check out some previous posts I did on the subject here and here.

The DOL will accept public comments until Feb. 22, 2011 — via http://www.regulations.gov.