Breastfeeding: It’s Our Right

by Shannon on December 19, 2011

Take a minute to familiarize yourself with the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011.

Federal law currently requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk, for one year after the child’s birth. Yet this provision only applies to “nonexempt employees,” and it does not protect lactating mothers from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace. Twenty-four U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia also have legislation to support breastfeeding in the workplace.

On August 1, 2011, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 in both houses of Congress.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 (H.R. 2758, S. 1463) includes two provisions:

  1. Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect breastfeeding women from being fired or discriminated against in the workplace.
  2. Protects breastfeeding mothers by ensuring that executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers (in addition to non-exempt employees covered by the previous amendment), have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace.
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