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August 3, 2010

HRB 12 - Break Time for Nursing Mothers

Released August 3, 2010I Download as a PDF

August 3, 2010 -- As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a federal law was enacted, effective March 23, 2010, that provides for a reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express milk.  Specifically, this law requires employers to provide a private place, other than a bathroom, for nursing mothers to express milk during the first year of the child’s life.  The designated private place must be shielded from view, and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

This law requires that the break time only be given to employees who are subject to overtime, i.e., nonexempt employees.  It does not require that the time be paid, but it does require that time be given anytime the employee needs to express milk. 

Many states have laws requiring a similar break time for nursing mothers that are more generous than the federal law, and these laws will continue to apply in those states. 

The law is written to apply to all employers, without regard to size; however, there is a hardship exemption for employers employing fewer than 50 employees if compliance with this law would cause undue difficulty or expense.  The 50-employee threshold is defined by total employees employed, not employees in any specific location.

The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor enforces this law; they have released a Fact Sheet explaining this requirement: Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA.


About the Author:  Karen R. McLeese is Vice President of Employee Benefit Regulatory Affairs for CBIZ Benefits & Insurance Services, Inc., a division of CBIZ, Inc.  She serves as in-house counsel, with particular emphasis on monitoring and interpreting state and federal employee benefits law.  Ms. McLeese is based in the CBIZ Leawood, Kansas office.


The information contained herein is not intended to be legal, accounting, or other professional advice, nor are these comments directed to specific situations. The information contained herein is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This information is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. You must consult your own attorney or tax advisor for assistance in specific situations.

This information is provided as-is, with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

As required by U.S. Treasury rules, we inform you that, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. federal tax advice contained herein is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any person for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed by the Internal Revenue Service.

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