Expressing Milk at Work; The Affordable Health Care Act

on January 27, 2014 in Breastfeeding, Pumping at Work


In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require employers to provide a reasonable break time for employees who need to express breastmilk for their nursing children.  They are required to provide this until the baby turns one year old.  Employers must also provide a place each time the employee needs to express the milk, other than a bathroom.  This area must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

Employers are not required to pay an employee receiving a reasonable break time for any work time spent for expressing breastmilk. However, employees who already receive compensated breaks may use that break time to express milk in the same way that other employees are compensated.

Employers who employ fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide this time and place if the requirements would cause significant hardship when considered in relation to the size, nature or structure of the business.  But all employees, regardless of the work site, must be counted when determining if this exemption applies.

Also, State laws override Federal laws if they provide greater protections to employees.  For example, some states may mandate providing paid break time or providing break time beyond the baby’s first birthday. As of this writing, twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have additional laws regarding breastfeeding in the workplace. (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming.)

If you have additional questions about this law, you may want to visit