We-Have-to-Pass-It-to-Find-Out-What’s-In-It Fact of the Day

You just can’t make this up.

The new health care reform law requires all employers to provide unpaid break time and private space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk at work… Although a bathroom is not a permissible space, employers don’t need a dedicated lactation center, as long as a suitable temporary space is available when needed by a nursing mother.

Companies with fewer than 50 workers don’t have to give breast-feeding breaks if they can show that doing so would impose an “undue hardship.”

Full article on the breast-feeding provision in the new health law.

Comments (12)

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  1. Ken says:

    Beam me up Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.

  2. Tom H. says:

    At first I thought this was an April Fool’s joke. Then maybe a spoof. You can’t possibly be serious. But you are serious aren’t you. Argggggggg!

  3. Neil H. says:

    I predict this is only the beginning. Next employers will have to provide birthing centers.

  4. John R. Graham says:

    “Enforcement”: That’s the key issue noted in the article. In a few years, I look forward to reading about lawsuits from women who do not believe that the accomodations were adequate.

    And what about employees who do not want to see women breastfeeding? Do they have a right to a break, too? Lots of lawyers will have to get to work on that side of the issue.

    This will have a negative effect on women’s employment and wages, as employers price this cost into their overheads.

  5. artk says:

    Well, John, you’re forgetting one thing, the law. Since 1999, women have had the right to breastfeed in public and at work. This is simply a small extension to that right.

  6. Linda Gorman says:

    Next up, employers are required to provide the pumps (electric only, please) and a freezer in which to store the pumped milk. And don’t forget the containers. No cheezy zip-lock bags.

    Then it will be suddenly recognized that as daycare is bad for infant health, employers must be required to allow new mothers to bring their infants to work with suitable private accomodations.

    At roughly $20 a square foot in Dallas in 2006, that temporary crib and diaper changing space (not in the bathroom of course) is going to cost a lot.

  7. mattmc says:

    Uh…since my employees are out of the office on the road or on job sites most of the day, where are they supposed to do this?

  8. Virginia says:

    As a female, I know that this is supposed to make me really happy. But, frankly, I have trouble feeling the excitement about my fellow females having a pump room next to my office. But maybe that’s a personal bias talking.

  9. Bruce says:

    Well, Ken, there certainly is no intelligent life on Capitol Hill.

  10. Larry C. says:

    This is only the beginning. There is probably no limit to what the Democrats in Congress would like to enforce employers to do.

  11. Hallie Bowie says:

    Encouraging mothers to feed their babies breast milk is actually a benefit to the employer. Infants who are fed breast milk receive natural antibodies that help to keep them healthy. And healthy babies mean fewer lost work days for mothers who would need to take off of work to care for their sick children. A “suitable temporary space” could be as simple as an empty conference room or empty office.

    Breast feeding makes for healthier, happier babies, which will make happier, more productive working mothers. Pumping at work is an important part of successful nursing for working mothers. What would you want for your daughter, child, grandchild?

  12. Andy says:

    I’m late to the party with this comment, but:
    a – I thought this was already the law so reading it didn’t floor me.
    b – as usual, a nice blanket statement from Congress with the idea that “they’ll figure it out” later.
    c – Hallie: we don’t have enough office space at my job for the employees that we have so there isn’t “an empty office” and the conference room is in use 80% of the time. Am I going to cancel a meeting with customers so that a new mommy can use the conference room? What about a manufacturing plant with new mommies working the production floor?