USBC Executive Director Brings the Voices of Breastfeeding Families to the Halls of Congress at Congressional Hearing

Contact: Cheryl Lebedevitch
Phone: 773-359-1549 x 21
Email: clebedev@usbreastfeeding.org
Website: www.usbreastfeeding.org

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Close Gaps in Federal Protections for Breastfeeding Employees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 28, 2020

Chicago, IL -- The House Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee and Workforce Protections Subcommittee are jointly hosting a subcommittee hearing titled "Expecting More: Addressing America's Maternal and Infant Health Crisis," today, Tuesday, January 28, at 10:15 a.m. ET.

Nikia Sankofa, Executive Director of the United States Breastfeeding Committee, has been invited to share her insights - gained from two decades of public health work at the community, state, and national levels.

In her testimony, Sankofa will outline the many and varied barriers to breastfeeding success in the United States; describe how policies, systems, and environmental changes impact breastfeeding rates; and present the case for the bipartisan "Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act" as a policy solution for dismantling obstacles to breastfeeding in the workplace. Sankofa will be joined by witnesses from the March of Dimes and Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

The great majority of pregnant women and new parents want to breastfeed, but significant barriers in the community, health care, and employment settings can impede breastfeeding success. Policy changes are necessary to deconstruct the obstacles that compromise the capacity of families to achieve their full health potential.

The recently introduced PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act offers an important opportunity to shift the landscape of breastfeeding support. This bipartisan legislation would protect and expand workers' right to breastfeed by extending the existing Break Time for Nursing Mothers law (requiring employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom space for breastfeeding employees to pump during the work day) to cover salaried employees as well as other categories of employees currently exempted from protections, ranging from kindergarten teachers to software engineers.

The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act would ensure that the 9 million currently unprotected employees would have access to the reasonable accommodations they need to continue breastfeeding after returning to work under federal law. Importantly, it would also ensure that breastfeeding employees have access to remedies that are available for other violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

"We appreciate the opportunity to discuss this critical public health issue with lawmakers and urge them to support the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, which would ensure that breastfeeding employees have a clear and protected right to break time and space to pump during the work day, in the absence of undue hardship on a business," said Sankofa.

Watch the hearing live on the House Committee on Education and Labor webcast.

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For more information on the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act refer to USBC's Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act webpage.

For more information about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law refer to the USBC's Online Guide: Everything You Need to Know About the "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" Law.

For information on how employers can implement workplace accommodations for breastfeeding workers refer to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women's Health Supporting Nursing Moms at Work resource.

For information about the benefits of breastfeeding refer to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office on Women's Health webpage.

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee is a national nonprofit organization that works to "drive collaborative efforts for policy and practices that create a landscape of breastfeeding support across the United States," with a focus on the values of leadership, integrity, and inclusion. USBC is made up of over 100 member organizations, including federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and breastfeeding coalitions.

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