Health Care Reform Boosts Support for Employed Breastfeeding Mothers

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Health Care Reform Boosts Support for Employed Breastfeeding Mothers

Health Care Reform Boosts Support for Employed Breastfeeding Mothers

This means no more pumping in the bathroom at work!!
 
What does the Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers law do?
  • Section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Health Care Reform), states that employers shall provide breastfeeding employees with “reasonable break time” and a private, non-bathroom place to express breast milk during the workday, up until the child’s first birthday.
  • Employers are not required to pay for time spent expressing milk, and employers of less than 50 employees shall not be required to provide the breaks if doing so would cause “undue hardship” to their business.
  • Download the text of Section 4207 only.

 

When does the law take affect?

  • The law was effective immediately upon President Obama’s signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, however, the rules for enforcement have not yet been put in place. Breastfeeding employees should be assured that the Department of Labor is working swiftly to establish these rules, and should give their employers time to comply once those rules take effect.
  • While the Department of Labor works to define terms and processes for enforcement of the law, USBC stands ready to support employers and breastfeeding employees with tools, information, and resources. View resources for employers and managers and resources for breastfeeding employees.

 

Why is the law necessary?

 
  • The longer a woman breastfeeds her child, the lower her risk of serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer, and the lower the child’s risk of infections, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases and conditions.
  • That’s why medical experts agree with the Department of Health and Human Services in recommending exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for the first year of life and beyond.
  • Mother-child separation due to work presents a serious challenge to meeting breastfeeding goals when employers do not meet the relatively simple needs of breastfeeding employees: time to regularly express milk (approximately every three hours), in a clean, private space.
  • Women now comprise half the U.S. workforce, and are the primary breadwinner in nearly 4 out of 10 American families. The fastest growing segment of the workforce is women with children under age three.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Immunization Survey indicates that nearly 75% of women initiate breastfeeding, but breastfeeding rates at six months and 12 months drop precipitously.
  • Returning to an unsupportive work environment has been identified as a major reason for the avoidance or early abandonment of breastfeeding. Workplace support can bridge this gap and help more women to balance working and breastfeeding.
  • While there are increasing numbers of worksite lactation programs, low-wage earners have had less access to this support. A mother’s decision to breastfeed her child should not be predetermined by where a mother works.