Did you know that the Postal Service is required to provide break times for nursing mothers to express milk as frequently as needed? This came up in one of the post offices I represent. Under the FLSA employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” The frequency of breaks needed to express milk as well as the duration of each break may vary.
The Postal Service is required to 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.” If the space is not dedicated to the nursing mother’s use, it must be available when needed in order to meet the statutory requirement.
Employers are not required to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies.
Ref: DOL Wage and Hour Division — Break Time for Nursing Mothers
See also DOL issues Opinion Letter on FMLA-protected rest breaks
First Name: Don
Last Name: Cheney
Union/Local: APWU – Auburn WA Local
Office held if any: Retired President