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Legislation & Policy

Supporting Working Moms Act (SWMA)

1/2017 Update: This bill will be reintroduced soon in the new 115th Congress...please subscribe to USBC action alerts to ensure you receive updates!

Federal law currently provides mothers reasonable break time to express milk in a private, non-bathroom location, for one year after the child’s birth. Yet this provision only applies to "nonexempt" employees (hourly wage-earning and some salaried employees exempt from overtime). 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.

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) have sponsored the Supporting Working Moms Act in the 113th and 114th Congressional sessions to ensure a fair and uniform national policy by extending the existing federal provision to cover approximately 12 million additional salaried employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers. Twenty-eight U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia also have state legislation to support breastfeeding in the workplace.

The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding; the Institute of Medicine report, Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention; and the National Prevention Strategy each call on employers to establish and maintain lactation support programs for their employees. Yet in spite of this tremendous recognition and recent expansion of support for breastfeeding moms in the workplace, only some moms are guaranteed this right.

Senate Bill Number: TBD

House Bill Number: TBD

Take Action

  • Submit a story about your experience with the federal "Break Time for Nursing Mothers" law
  • Use our online tool to write to your Representative and Senators (coming soon)
  • Be sure to tell your friends, family, and colleagues to write as well! Use this link to share the campaign on social media: (coming soon)
  • Tweet at your elected officials and candidates and ask them to support the bill (coming soon)
  • National and state organizations are invited to sign on to a letter in support of the SWMA (coming soon)

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