When you return to work after the birth of your son or daughter, you probably expect some challenges. After all, you may be apart from the young one in your family for the first time in weeks. You should not, however, worry about your employer taking adverse action against you because of your need to express breast milk.
Federal law provides protections for many new mothers. To ensure your employer is complying with the law, you must understand who it covers and what it says.
The FLSA protects non-exempt employees
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require certain employers to accommodate the expression of milk. For this protection to apply, your employer must fall under the purview of the FLSA. You must also be a non-exempt employee, which generally means you are eligible for overtime pay.
Your employer must accommodate you
To comply with the FLSA, your employer must give you reasonable break time to express breast milk for your nursing newborn. This requirement extends for a full year after you give birth. Furthermore, your employer must give you a break every time you need to express milk. Your employer probably does not have to compensate you for additional breaks, but you should receive the same break time compensation as other employees.
You must have a private place for your break
Along with giving you necessary breaks, your employer must provide a private place for you to express milk. This place cannot be a public or private restroom. It does not have to be permanent, though. Therefore, your employer may construct a temporary space where you can express milk in private.
Expressing breast milk is critical for your health and the health of your newborn son or daughter. By pushing for a private place you can express milk, you can be certain you receive full benefit from the FLSA.