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