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Teacher not receiving breaks to breast pump or lunch breaks Virginia

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  • Teacher not receiving breaks to breast pump or lunch breaks Virginia

    My wife has been a teacher at the same school in Virginia for 5 years. She went back to work 4 weeks ago and has only received 1 lunch break and has asked for some relief to breast pump during the day and has not received any.

    If shes lucky she can get away for 5 minutes and leave her kids with her assistant to go try and pump in a closet.

    She has called me everyday crying because she cant pump and now shes starting to produce less which is affecting our 6 month old.

    She has documented everything from day 1. She has asked her principal, vice principal and hr on a daily basis. She left a message with the county today.

    What should I do? Or is there any advice for her?

    Thank you,

    Clint

  • #2
    Per my reference - Va: A resolution encourages employers to recognize the importance of breastfeeding and to provide breaks and space for employees to breastfeed or express milk. The resolution, doesn't have the force of law.

    Is your wife in a union?
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      I might mention that Va. doesn't require meal and/or rest breaks for adults unless
      there would be a binding employment contract or CBA requiring them.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Ok, there is this federal law:

        Federal FLSA law
        SEC. 4207. REASONABLE BREAK TIME FOR NURSING MOTHERS.
        Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 207) is amended by adding at the end the following:

        (r)(1) An employer shall provide--
        (A) a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and
        (B) a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.

        (2) An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time under paragraph (1) for any work time spent for such purpose.

        (3) An employer that employs less than 50 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this subsection, 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.

        (4) Nothing in this subsection shall preempt a State law that provides greater protections to employees than the protections provided for under this subsection.'
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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        • #5
          Caveat to what Betty posted; it does to apply to teachers or other exempt employees. At least it does not as far as having to provide break time to pump. I realize it can be a struggle to provide breaks as needed for this, even when the employer has the best of intentions. The fact is that teachers are charged with providing instruction and supervision to children and they can not leave them unattended. The other adult may or may not be able to legally provide that coverage. They must still provide a location to pump which is not a restroom.

          As for breaks in general, that is going to be a contract issue. I would be very surprised if her contract or union agreement did not stipulate a certain amount of duty free time. If that is not happening, she would have recourse through the union. When that time is scheduled is a different matter but duty free lunches are all but standard and some sort of planning period should be in there as well. If not, she still needs to talk to the union as her district is a good 30 years behind the rest of the country.

          Even if she is not pumping during the school day, she should be able to maintain her supply. She should talk to a lactation consultant or her doctor if she is having issues. (Says the daughter of a LC)
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
            Caveat to what Betty posted; it does to apply to teachers or other exempt employees.
            I "think" Elle meant to say it does "not" apply .....
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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            • #7
              Yes, that was a typo. It does NOT apply to exempt employees and teachers are exempt.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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              • #8
                I remember hearing about this law a long time ago. And wondering just what the heck Exempt status is supposed to do with lactation. I am sure that the quote is correct. I just do not understand how this law as worded was supposed to make any sense at the time. Fortunately all employers I have worked for felt the same way. Still, there are any number of employers who still deeply regret the passing of serfdom.
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                • #9
                  We have opted to make our own policy extend to exempt employees, but the law does not require this. My thought is that exempt employees typically are in positions which do not have such set break times or allow the flexibility to take breaks when needed. A typical manager for example, probably doesn't have a set lunch time or can delegate duties and schedule around the need to pump.

                  Complying is not always easy when it comes to teachers though, even when we would like to do so. For example, the course schedule is set well ahead of time and teaching assignments for those courses are as well. Typically this is done in the early spring. This may be well before a teacher even knows she is pregnant, let alone has decided to pump. This can lead to a teacher having to teach 3 90 minute courses in a row with the lunch period and planning time after (which is considered a very desireable schedule). Reassigning courses mid year or making students rearrange their schedules and desired courses to accommodate a teacher who needs to pump is not reasonable. Nor is it reasonable to make another teacher give up their planning time to cover 20 minutes of a colleague's class so they can pump.

                  With elementary students and in schools with rotating blocks, the schedule is slightly different everyday. That means the non-instructional time also changes day to day. Field trips are a nightmare in this regard. So far we have always been able to make it work but I know there will come a day when we can not. It will not be for lack of trying.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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