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New mothers may be entitled to break time for nursing

As a new mother, you know that what's best for your child may not always be appropriate for the workplace. Fortunately, breastfeeding is becoming more common, and break times for nursing mothers are covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The United States Department of Labor writes that employers are required to give nursing mothers a reasonable amount of time on break to express breast milk for her nursing child. This is to be done for at least one year following the birth of the child.

Where can a mother go to nurse her child? Some may claim they have to nurse in bathrooms or closets, but the truth is that the FLSA requires employers to provide a safe place for women to do so. This location needs to be shielded from view and must be free from the intrusion of other coworkers, protecting a woman's right to privacy.

What is a reasonable amount of time for a woman to nurse her child? The FLSA has not determined an exact window of time, because every child and mother will have variances in a nursing schedule. One day a child may nurse quickly, while other days may take longer.

Do all workplaces have to let you nurse your child? Not unless it's a direct state law. According to the United States Department of Labor, employers who have fewer than 50 employees can choose not to provide breaks for nursing. This is because taking breaks may cause undue hardship on the company. If there is no hardship caused, you may still have a case to take to your attorney.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "Wage and Hour Division (WHD) Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA," accessed Sep. 17, 2015

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