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Are empoyers obligated to provide nursing breaks?

| Jun 22, 2017 | Wage And Hour |

If you are a nursing mother in Kansas City, you should know that your employer is obligated to offer breaks based on federal law. Failure to do so is a significant breach of prevailing wage and hour laws, and can subsequently land your employer in hot water from a legal perspective.

The United States Department of Labor sheds some light on the terms for nursing breaks within one’s place of work. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all eligible employers must offer a private area for nursing mothers to express milk during breaks. Breaks should be afforded as needed, and the length of breaks generally depends upon the needs of the mother in question. Nursing breaks must be offered for a period of one year after the birth of a child.

When it comes to the area where the break takes place, it must be secluded from view of the general public as well as other employees. Under no circumstances can the break area be a bathroom. This is true even if space is limited within a workplace. In this case, employers can convert an area intended for other uses provided it meets the above privacy criteria.

Most employers are obligated to follow the rules stipulated in the FLSA. Exemptions can include employers with less than 50 employees who can show that offering such breaks would create an undue hardship for the enterprise. However, in many cases state laws include similar language regarding nursing breaks, so employers would be beholden to those in that case. While there is no language stating that nursing breaks must be paid, employers are required to offer so many paid breaks per shift to employees.