Thursday, September 3, 2015

It's Time for ALL Working Moms to Have Legal Protection for Pumping

Salaried health care workers deserve the same rights as hourly workers!

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

If you work as an hourly employee in a store, restaurant or business with more than 50 employees, your employer is legally required to provide you a place to express or pump your breastmilk (a bathroom isn't acceptable) and whatever break time you need to do so. This fact sheet explains the details of the law as it is currently written. However, if you are a teacher, a physician or any other kind of salaried employee, the law doesn't provide you any protection at all.
Some employers like HEMSI  work
 hard to accomodate mamas.

Last year I wrote a blog about this topic and mentioned the Supporting Working Mothers Act of 2013 which was sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon. Unfortunately our lawmakers didn't care enough about mothers and babies to act on this legislation, and they allowed it the bill to die.

Nevertheless, the United States Breastfeeding Committe (USBC) is mounting a campaign to once again find a sponsor for the Supporting Working Mothers Act so that it can be introduced in the upcoming session of congress. You may not be a very politically active person, but please take just a moment to get involved in this very important issue. It isn't a Democrat or a Republican issue. No, it is a MOTHER'S RIGHTS issue. It is a BABY'S RIGHTS issue. Every mother and baby should have the right to sustain their breastfeeding relationship after mother returns to work. Sadly many do not have that option because employers fail to understand the many incredible benefits for everyone involved including the employer!

This school counselor has
been able to pump as needed. 

Benefits for Mom and Baby

The numerous benefits for moms and babies have been well documented. Babies who receive their mothers' milk receive antibodies to anything that mom is exposed to. They also have reduced incidence of all the following:

Upper respiratory infections
Ear infections
Gastrointestinal infections
Juvenile diabetes
Childhood leukemia

Mothers who breastfeed receive tremendous health benefits as well.

Increased chance of healthy loss of extra pregnancy weight
Reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer
Reduced risk of postpartum depression
Reduced risk of osteoporosis and ovarian cancer later in life

Benefits for Employers

Every working mother should
have this right!
Many employers do not realize that when they empower their workforce to breastfeed according to the AAP recommendation they will also benefit the bottom line of their company in a variety of ways:
  • Increased retention of employees following maternity leave
  • Reduced incidence of absenteeism due to working mothers having to care for sick babies
  • Greater job satisfaction reported leading to long-term employee retention
  • Reduced costs for employer-funded insurance plans because the medical costs during the first year of life are drastically reduced. 

The first step you can take is to click on this link which will take you to the USBC campaign. Scroll down to the bottom where you can enter your zip code to send an email to the representative for your congressional district.

Next repost this information to everyone you know