Federal law currently provides mothers reasonable break times to express milk in a private, non-bathroom location, for one year after the child’s birth. Yet this provision only applies to “nonexempt" (hourly wage-earning) employees. While this provides protection and support for the most vulnerable workers, this distinction in the law was unintentional and is causing confusion about who is covered and how to implement it efficiently and fairly in all worksites.
In May 2013, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Supporting Working Moms Act of 2013 in both houses of Congress. The bill (H.R. 1941, S. 934) would expand existing federal law to cover approximately 12 million salaried employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers. Twenty-four U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia also have state legislation to support breastfeeding in the workplace.
Senate Bill Number: S. 934
House Bill Number: H.R. 1941
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