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Nursing Mothers’ Required Break Raised Unanswered Questions

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Unanswered questions raised with new requirement for nursing mothers.

Nursing employee mothers who express milk for their children are required by law to be given a reasonable break time for one year after the child’s birth and each such time the mother needs to express milk. The law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also requires covered employers to provide the employee mother a secure, intrusion free and private place, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.

However, this law raises many questions which it in itself does not answer, such as: What is reasonable time? What kind of space is required and must breaks be compensated? Employers are given many discretionary freedoms as to how to comply with the Law. Required space only needs to be a secured, intrusion free area that is designated for expressing milk for employee mothers. Bathrooms, even privates ones, are unacceptable under the PPACA Law.

Reasonable time given to the employee mother is at the mother’s discretion. Many variables are attached to this time frame given, including but not limited to: child’s normal daily schedule feeding habits and the mother’s individual circumstances and health. Compensation for breaks is not entirely required by law; however, the employer does need to make healthy decisions on when it is appropriate to compensate the employee mother when necessary.

Ultimately, the employee mother and her employer are to maintain a healthy dose of communication regarding the mother’s breast feeding needs.

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Nursing Mothers' Required Break Raised Unanswered Questions by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes