Monday, June 7, 2010

Health Care Reform Q&A With the VSCPA Insurance Center: Benefits for Women & Responsibilities for Employers

What do companies need to know about benefits for women enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) (the Reform Act) as amended by the Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872) (the Reconciliation Act).

The Reform Act adds a new provision to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that addresses the needs of working women who breastfeed their infant children. Effective immediately, employers covered by the FLSA must provide “reasonable” breaks to mothers to express milk for their infants who are up to one year old. The newly enacted section of the FLSA also mandates that employers provide a private location, other than a restroom, where mothers may express milk. This provision does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees if its requirements would “impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense.”

The Reform Act does not require that breaks for breast pumping be paid regardless of the time spent breast pumping. However, several states already mandate that breast pumping breaks be treated as compensable time and, under the newly enacted section of the FLSA in the Reform Act, employers must adhere to the standard that is more favorable to the employee. Thus, if the employer is located in a state that mandates paid breast pumping breaks, the employer will still need to satisfy this requirement.

Health Care Reform Q&A is facilitated by the VSCPA Insurance Center. Have a question? Leave a comment, or contact the VSCPA Insurance Center directly. This document is not intended to imply or provide tax or legal advice and is the VSCPA Insurance Center's current interpretation of the Health Reform Bill.

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