Since at least 1995 Texas law has provided that women has a right to breastfeed in public in any place in which they are legally authorized to be. Last week, the health care reform signed by the President amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to require covered employers to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers to express breast milk for nursing children. The FLSA is the federal law that requires most employers to pay minimum wages and overtime for hours worked in excess of forty per week.
The new law provides that:
- Employers must provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth;
- Provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk;
- Break time is unpaid in Texas (unless of course the employee is an exempt employee entitled to full salary in workweeks where any work is performed).
The law does not apply to employers with 50 or fewer employees if “the requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the employer’s business.”