President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act today, and part of the legislation protects mothers. The legislation amended federal law to require that nursing mothers be provided with “reasonable break time” to express breast milk “each time” its needed, for up to one year after birth.
Employers must also provide working mothers a place other than a bathroom that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. Federal guidelines say it doesn’t have to be a large space – only four feet by five feet, just large enough to accommodate a chair and table. Employers do not have to pay for the time, but under other laws, rest periods of less than 20 minutes must be counted as working time.
Employees should note that the law exempts employers who have less than 50 employees from the requirements if those employers can prove that compliance would cause the employer “significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the employer’s business.”
If you work for a company that doesn’t respect your pregnancy, give us a call.