November 15, 2017

Senator Hassan Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Breastfeeding Protections at Work

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan announced that she helped introduce the Supporting Working Moms Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation would help ensure that more working mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies after they return to work. 

This bill builds on an existing law authored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney in 2010 that provides space and time for hourly employees to pump breastmilk at work. The Supporting Working Moms Act would extend these protections to salaried workers.

“Ensuring that women can continue to breastfeed when returning to the workplace is critical to the health and well-being of mothers and babies, and it is essential to our country’s economic stability,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill is a common-sense measure to help ensure that women can remain in the workplace while supporting the health of their children and contributing to our nation’s economic success. I will continue fighting to ensure that women have the freedom to make their own health care decisions and are not held back from participating in our economy because of outdated policies.”

According to the Business Case for Breastfeeding, published by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2014, employers that provide support for breastfeeding mothers experience lower health care costs, lower rates of absenteeism, and better retention of experienced employees. 

The Supporting Working Moms Act would help new parents and babies by expanding the breastfeeding provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover salaried office workers:

  • The 2010 Merkley-Maloney provision amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide mothers who are classified as non-exempt employees with reasonable break times to pump milk in a private, non-bathroom environment while at work. 

 

  • The Supporting Working Moms Act would expand this provision to cover salaried employees who work in traditional office environments. 

 

  • The expansion would cover an additional approximate 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional women in the workplace. 

The Supporting Working Moms Act is endorsed by the following national organizations:

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

American Association of Birth Centers

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Baby Cafe USA

Breastfeeding in Combat Boots

Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association

HealthConnect One

Healthy Children Project, Inc.

Human Milk Banking Association of North America

International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners

Mom2Mom Global

MomsRising

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Partnership for Women & Families

National WIC Association

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