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Belmont Law Review

Abstract

On March 30, 2010, former President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) of 1938. Due to this amendment, the FLSA now requires employers to provide workplace accommodations for working mothers who wish to continue expressing breast milk after returning to work. Although this legislation was intended to be a step in support of transforming the role of women in the workplace, in practice its protections fail to advance the legal policies and progressive changes to the American workplace that our society has tirelessly pushed for. This Note proposes legislative reform that would amend the FLSA to actually advance workplace equality and offers meaningful protections for working mothers. In support of this conclusion, this Note begins in Part I by discussing the benefits of adopting legislation that increases the amount of support for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Part I also compares the current American approach to the far more progressive approaches taken by select employers and other countries. Part II provides a discussion of the FLSA’s legal impact on employers and employees and also addresses how the FLSA interacts with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Part III proposes legislative reform (accompanied by suggested regulations) that addresses and resolves the deficiencies in the FLSA. Finally, Part IV evaluates the effectiveness of the proposed solution while addressing concerns that commentators may have.

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