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Health Reform Law Increases Workplace Protections for Breastfeeding Women

Health Reform Law Increases Workplace Protections for Breastfeeding Women

April 13, 2010 — A "little-noticed provision" in the new health reform law (PL 111-148) requires employers to provide breastfeeding women with break times and a private location -- other than a bathroom -- to express milk or breastfeed their infants, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The provision, which amends the Fair Labor Standards Act, is applicable until the child's first birthday.

Employers with 50 or fewer workers could be exempt from the requirement if they prove "undue hardship," according to Andrew Rodman, partner with the Miami-based Stearns Weaver Miller law firm, which sent an advisory about the new law to clients on Thursday. Rodman said that a partition with a curtain likely would not pass legal muster under the new law. The location must be completely "free from intrusion" and "public viewing," he said.

The law does not detail how many daily or weekly breaks are permitted. Rodman said he expects the Department of Labor to issue guidance about the law (Heroux Pounds, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/10).