When Restaurants Must Provide a Breastfeeding Break and Space for Workers

Employment Law

Employers across many different industries and fields should know that they may be eligible for both a rest break, and an appropriate place to take that break, in order to express breast milk after giving birth to a baby. New mothers can have particular difficulties in the restaurant industry when it comes to getting a rest break for expressing breast milk and getting an appropriate place to do so. However, the good news is that most restaurant workers in Georgia are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and thus those workers likely are entitled to certain federal rights in the workplace after giving birth.

We want to provide you with more information about federally required break time for expressing breast milk, and the reasons that most restaurant workers are covered by this requirement under the FLSA.

Break Time for Nursing Mothers: Covered Restaurant Employees Have a Right to Break Time for Expressing Breast Milk

Under Section 7 of the FLSA, employers must provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk for a nursing child. The employer is required to provide reasonable break time for this purpose for one year after the child’s birth. In addition to requiring reasonable break time, employers are required under federal law to provide a place for expressing breast milk that is not a bathroom, and that provides employees with a place that is shielded from view and from intrusion by coworkers or the public for expressing breast milk. This section of the FLSA became law relatively recently when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010.

While Georgia law does not specifically require employers to provide a break for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk, employers in Georgia must abide by the federal FLSA. The FLSA compliance poster provided by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) clarifies requirements for nursing mothers.

Why Most Restaurant Workers Are Covered By the FLSA and the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Amendment

Who is covered by the FLSA? The FLSA covers employers (and their employees) who fall into the following categories:

  • Employers with annual sales of $500,000 or more; and/or
  • Employers who are engaged in interstate commerce.

While many restaurants in Georgia may not be obtaining annual sales of $500,000 or more, the second category ends up covering most restaurants in the state. The notion of being engaged in interstate commerce typically is construed quite broadly, and restaurants of all types certainly are engaged in interstate commerce when they order supplies over the internet from other states, make phone calls to other states, take orders from another state, or even send or receive mail from another state.

In other words, most types of contact with states outside of Georgia result in the restaurant being involved in interstate commerce, which means that the restaurant must abide by the FLSA.

Contact a Georgia Employment Law Attorney Assisting Restaurant Workers

It is extremely important for restaurant workers in Georgia to know that they have significant rights under federal law. If an employer violates the FLSA, a restaurant worker who has suffered a legal injury may be able to file a claim. A dedicated Georgia employment law attorney at our firm can discuss your case with you. Contact The Vaughn Law Firm today to get started on your claim.