U.S. Department of Labor and Bank of America Sign Agreement Implementing Companywide Program to Enhance Working Environment For Nursing Mothers
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) today announced the signing of an agreement with Bank of America N.A. that implements systemic changes enhancing the employer’s working environment by taking defined steps to accommodate the reasonable break time for nursing mothers’ requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This agreement affords working mothers the support they need in the workplace when balancing professional and personal responsibilities.
The agreement comes after a WHD investigation found that Bank of America failed to provide reasonable break time and a space free from intrusion for a nursing mother to express breast milk at a Tucson, Arizona, location. Bank of America agreed to comply and moved forward to make all necessary adjustments to ensure compliance at the Arizona location and at all of the company’s locations nationwide.
After discussions with WHD, Bank of America – headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina – entered into an enhanced compliance agreement with the agency that commits the employer to implementing physical modifications over a multi-year period to accommodate compliance at all of its facilities nationwide, covering more than 170,000 employees. Facility modifications will begin in Arizona, and Bank of America will prioritize modifications nationwide based upon immediate nursing mothers’ space requirements. In addition to the physical modifications, the company will provide internal training for some managers and human resources personnel, and provide expectant mothers who intend to take maternity leave with a new mother’s packet, which includes a link to the bank’s FLSA break time policy for nursing mothers.
“The U.S. Department of Labor applauds Bank of America for leading by example and demonstrating how complying with the law benefits everyone,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “This agreement demonstrates what can be accomplished when government works collaboratively with business to lift up workers and help employers not only meet their responsibilities, but better their environments for their workforce. We appreciate Bank of America’s quick efforts in establishing a companywide lactation break procedure, and we’re proud to announce this agreement today as we look forward to observing Breastfeeding Awareness Month.”
Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk (Section 7 of the FLSA). Employers are also required to provide 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.
The Department offers numerous resources to ensure employers have the tools they need to understand their responsibilities and to comply with federal law, such as online videos and confidential calls to local WHD offices.
For more information about the FLSA, Nursing Mothers Provisions and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.
WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD enforces federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. WHD also enforces the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave requirements of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee Polygraph Protection Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, wage garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act and a number of employment standards and worker protections as provided in several immigration related statutes. Additionally, WHD administers and enforces the prevailing wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable to federal contracts for construction and for the provision of goods and services.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.