DOL Concerned About Unpaid Internships, and New Protection for Nursing Mothers

The federal Department of Labor is stepping up enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) with regard to unpaid internships because such arrangements very well could be violating the FLSA's minimum wage requirements.

In other FLSA news, the Health Care Reform legislation (technically the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) contained a little-noticed provision that requires employers to provide breaks for nursing mothers. The amendment will require all employers subject to the FLSA to provide rest breaks to mothers who wish to express breast milk. The new law states that employers with fewer than 50 employees are not required to provide the breaks “if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer’s business.” DOL regulations explicating the provision are sure to follow.