Senate Passes Two Bills For Pregnant And Breastfeeding Moms At Work

The US Senate has passed two laws to help working mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Pregnant Workers Equity Act and the Act to Provide Emergency Maternal Protection for Lactating Mothers (known as the PUMP Act) were added to the 2023 Comprehensive Appropriations Bill and are currently in the Senate. It has passed and is on its way to a vote in the House.

pump method

The PUMP for Lactating Mothers Act requires organizations to provide time and place for breastfeeding parents. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 already requires employers to provide reasonable time to express breast milk and to provide a place to do so outside of the bathroom.

But previous pumping laws excluded most office workers, and the PUMP Act extends these rights to all employees who breastfeed their babies during the first year of life. In addition, the new bill states, “Furthermore, if the employee is also working, time spent milking must be considered working time.”

According to the Surgeon General, breastfeeding helps protect babies from illnesses like ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia, as well as long-term conditions like obesity and asthma. It also reduces the risk of cancer. Three of her four mothers in the United States begin breastfeeding at birth, but only 13% of babies are exclusively breastfed by six months of age.

One study in the journal Pediatrics It is estimated that if 90% of U.S. families breastfed for six months, the U.S. would save $13 billion in medical and other costs and prevent more than 900 infant deaths. It has been. In addition, individual families can save up to $1,500 annually on infant formula costs.

Complications associated with pumping at work may contribute to women’s decision to stop breastfeeding. A survey by a breast pump manufacturer found that nearly half of mothers expressed concern that breastfeeding at work might affect their career development. And almost half of these women are considering changing jobs because of their desire to express at work. A whopping 62% of her said there is a stigma attached to breastfeeding mothers at work, indicating there is still a lot of room for improvement in the workplace.

Even if an organization wants to help women pump, individual managers can make pumping difficult in the her book bully market, Jamie Fiore Higgins describes his experience working at Goldman Sachs after having a child. We have a full-size kitchen and 24/7 lactation consultants available,” she wrote. But when her boss noticed that Fiore had signed up for her lactation room, she said that if she wanted to be promoted to managing director, she would have to work at her desk instead of pumping. said to her.

The PUMP Act has gained bipartisan support following pushback from the airline industry. Given the limited space on board, airlines had legitimate concerns about finding private areas for breastfeeding employees. Amended to include small business hardship exemption. The PUMP Act passed the Senate by a 92-5 vote, with Republican Senators Rand Paul, John Cornyn, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Patrick Toomey voting against it.

Maternity Fairness Act

The second bill to help mothers is the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. The bill also had bilateral support, but the Senate passed it into the spending bill with her 73-24 vote. The law stipulates that employers cannot refuse employment opportunities based on these pregnancy considerations, nor can they “demand”. Employees may take paid or unpaid leave if another reasonable accommodation is provided. ”

“Even if a woman asks for a chair to sit on, a bathroom break and a water bottle, employers will provide them now, even for accommodations that are very simple and basic and subject to much consensus. No need,” Senator Bob Casey said in a post-vote interview.

The bill has broad bipartisan support, but not everyone agrees. Some felt the bill could force employers to consider abortion. Refusal to promote abortion in direct violation could expose pro-life organizations to devastating lawsuits.”

Tillis commented that the United States Catholic Bishops Conference (USCCB) approved the bill and the law was amended to clarify that no employer is required to subsidize “specific items, procedures, or treatments.” It was served after

USCCB spokesperson James Rogers said the bill “helps advance the USCCB’s goal of ensuring that no woman feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her children.” said.

This important action comes at a time when 1 in 5 mothers are afraid to tell their employer about their pregnancy. Also, according to a Morning Her Consult survey conducted in February 2022, nearly one in four mothers (23%) said they lacked a reasonable pregnancy environment or feared discrimination. I’ve thought about quitting my job because of it.

Working women should be able to choose to take steps to raise and give birth to healthy children without jeopardizing their jobs. The PUMP Law and the Pregnancy Bill are a step in the right direction.

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