You may have heard that the federal health care reform law of 2010 (known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) requires employers to provide reasonable break time in a non-bathroom location to pump their milk.
But did you know that this requirement was extended only to some employees? Many moms don’t realize that the law covers only hourly wage-earners (“nonexempt” employees).
That means that if you’re a salaried worker, you don’t have these rights under federal law.* This excludes mothers many salaried occupations, including teachers. The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee estimates that 12 million women are Booby Trapped by this exclusion.
Fortunately, there is movement afoot to extend the law to those excluded by the ACA. It’s called the Supporting Working Moms Act, sponsored by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York.
We’ve known for some time that accommodating breastfeeding moms in the workplace saves businesses money, cuts absenteeism, reduces turnover, and makes moms happier employees. We’ve made good progress in ensuring that mothers have rights to pump at work in both state and federal law.
But the job isn’t done. That’s why it’s important to ask your representatives to co-sponsor or support the Supporting Working Moms Act. To do so, visit this US Breastfeeding Committee page. Enter your zip code, and you’ll be able to send an email to your representatives in no time.
* Some of you live in states where all moms are provided these accommodations. But many of you live in states with no such law. For you, federal law only protects you if you’re a non-salaried employee.