Department of Labor Wants Working Moms' Input on Breast Pumping Law

The Department of Labor wants input on how to implemement the new law requiring employers to accomodate some working mothers who wish to pump at work.

From the Department's statement:

The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division is requesting 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. This new provision — the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Law — became law when the Affordable Care Act was signed by the president in March 2010. The provision responds to a reality that many women face when they return to work after having a baby.

The Department is looking for input on these issues:

Duration and Frequency:  What is adequate time to express breast milk?  What is “reasonable” break time from employee and employer perspectives?

Reasonable Space & Features:  What does it mean for an employer to provide “a place” to express breast milk?  What features should be available in the place (refrigeration, electrical outlet, sink with running water, chair, etc)?  What potential contamination risks exist?

Undue Hardship: When should the determination of the number of workers be made for the purpose of claiming the undue hardship exemption?  What standard is the most appropriate?

Notice: How can the federal government best communicate the law to nursing mothers and to employers?  How and when should a nursing mother notify her employer to invoke this right?

Here's where to comment, by February 22, 2011.  Bear in mind that all comments, and any personal information included, will be part of the public record.

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