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Breastfeeding in the Workplace


  • First Signed Into Law: March 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act (Section 4207, which amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938).
  • Latest Action: No current changes to existing law (view the entire law).

Key Points

  • Requires employers to provide a reasonable, non-paid break time for an employee to express milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time the employee has need to express milk. The employer must provide a place shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, other than a bathroom.
  • The new law applies to all employers. Some companies with fewer than 50 employees who would experience undue hardship on resources and capacity may be granted an exception. Requests for exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Department of Labor.
  • The federal law sets the minimum standard for compliance; however, state law can provide higher protections. Several states already have breastfeeding legislation in place.

For additional information, read the Academy's Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding position paper and see information from the Department of Labor about break time for nursing mothers.


For a comprehensive look at the Academy's position on health care reform and legislation related to it, view the Value of Nutrition Services in Prevention issue brief.

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