SHRM HR Law - Update

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking SHRM’s assistance to identify effective practices used by HR professionals who provide break time and locations for employees who are nursing mothers.

YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED!  The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is seeking SHRM’s assistance to identify effective practices used by HR professionals who provide break time and locations for employees who are nursing mothers.Background The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148), signed into law in March 2010, amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child.  This requirement extends for one year after the child’s birth each time such an employee has need to express the milk.  Employers are also required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public for the use of nursing mothers.

DOL issued a fact sheet on the nursing mother’s provision that is available HERE.  The fact sheet includes the following guidelines:

    • Employers are not required to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken to express milk;
    • The frequency of breaks as well as the duration of each break will likely vary;
    • A space temporarily created or converted into a space for expressing milk or made available when needed is sufficient;
    • State laws that provide greater protections to employees are not preempted;
    • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the break time requirement if compliance would impose an undue hardship.
  • The frequency of breaks as well as the duration of each break will likely vary;
  • A space temporarily created or converted into a space for expressing milk or made available when needed is sufficient;
  • State laws that provide greater protections to employees are not preempted;
  • Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the break time requirement if compliance would impose an undue hardship.
    IssueRecently, SHRM met with DOL which is responsible for writing the guidance that employers will follow to implement this statutory requirement.  DOL has asked for SHRM’s assistance in identifying effective practices used by SHRM members to accommodate employees who are nursing mothers. Action NeededPlease click HERE and fill out a short form sharing details of your effective practice for providing reasonable break time and appropriate location for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child in the workplace.  SHRM will share a summary of effective practices employed by members, but will not share any identifying information of members with DOL. DOL is specifically requesting information from the following:
    • Members in industries without obvious locations for nursing mothers to use such as construction, trucking or transportation, retail or service industries, etc.
    • Members working in states that currently have state law requirements for nursing mothers in the workplace (AR, CA, CO, CT, GA, HI, IL, IN, ME, MN, MS, MT, NM, NY, ND, OK, OR, RI, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WY).

    If you encounter any problems with this site, please contact David Lusk, SHRM’s Senior Associate, Member Advocacy, at david.lusk@shrm.org.

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