a-breast.jpgThere’s a frustration I often hear from mothers who want to breast feed when they return to work. The gripes include everything from not having a private place to pump to feeling spurned by managers and coworkers.

Well, it’s time for working moms to stop whining and stand up for their rights.

A new provision known at the “Nursing Mothers Law” in Obama’s health care reform act I wrote about a while back mandates that employers provide an appropriate spot and breaks for breastfeeding. The Department of Labor has yet to write the final rules on the new rules, but despite the bureaucratic delays the agency’s watchdogs are already showing their teeth.

The department’s wage and hour division, which is responsible for enforcing the new law, already has 23 nursing mother cases under its belt, according to Sonia Melendez, a spokeswoman for the agency.

“The Department intends to continue enforcing the law based on the statutory language and consistent with the information provided in Wage and Hour Fact Sheet #73: “Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA” and the associated facts,” she said. “Until the Department issues final guidance, the request for information provides useful information for employers to consider in establishing policies for nursing employees.”

Indeed, employers who don’t think the provision has kicked in yet or are unaware of the law may end up having the labor department’s enforcers knocking on their doors.

The agency provided me with a list of some of the firms that have already been cited under the law, and the good news is many of these employers have agreed to comply.

Dollar General
o Violations –Failure to provide adequate space and Failure to provide reasonable time (Agreed to Comply and Agreed to Pay $814.43 in back wages)

Dillard’s
o Violations – Failure to provide adequate space and Failure to provide reasonable time (Agreed to Comply)

Starbucks
o Violation – Failure to provide adequate space (Agreed to Comply)

McDonald’s
o Violation – Failure to provide reasonable time (Agreed to Comply)

Scottsdale Healthcare Hospital, Scottsdale, AZ
o Violation - Failure to provide adequate space (Agreed to comply)

Sims Metal East, Morrisville, PA
o Violation - Failure to provide adequate space (Agreed to comply)

National Massage Therapy Institute, Philadelphia, PA
o Violation - Failure to provide adequate space (Agreed to comply)

TRG Customer Solutions, Inc., Jacksonville, FL
o Violations - Failure to provide adequate break times, and failure to provide adequate space (Agreed to comply)

The news that the labor department has already begun enforcing the law is hopefully the push working moms need to demand what they deserve, and what is now legally the obligation of employers to provide.

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