Protect breast pumping rights for working moms: sign the petition
“I am a breastfeeding mom, and I just went back to work after having my first baby. I want to reach my goal of breastfeeding for two years, and I can’t do that without being able to pump every three hours at work.”
Nursing moms like this one face a dilemma at work. With the repeal and replace in sight for the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), many provisions that benefit working moms are at risk. Moms depend on provisions in the Affordable Care Act that make it easier to continue nursing and providing breast milk to their infant long after they have gone back to work.
According to Provision 207 in the ACA, employers have to provide women with reasonable breaks during the workday to breast pump. Repealing the ACA will take these necessary rights away from nursing moms as employers will no longer be obligated to enforce this law. This means affected babies will not benefit from the essential breast milk needed in the first year of life, because their mothers will not be allowed to take breaks to breast pump. Here is what the provision means for working moms:
“President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 30, 2010. (See the combined full text of Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152 here.) Among many provisions, Section 4207 of the law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 (29 U.S. Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk. The employer is not required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for any work time spent for such purpose. The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk. If these requirements impose undue hardship, an employer that employs fewer than 50 employees is not subject to these requirements. The federal requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees.”
Moms Pump Here started a petition on Change.org called Help Working Moms Who Breast Pump! – Keep Provision 207 in Affordable Care Act. Our petition addresses Congressional leaders, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. With well over 15,000 signatures, the goal of the petition is to ensure nursing mom rights stay in the ACA or the replacement.
Many women, after six weeks of maternity leave, have to return to work because they cannot afford to be out much longer. Although women try their best to extend the benefits of nursing by breast pumping at work and breastfeeding when they get home, on average most moms stop breastfeeding at six months in the United States. Experts currently recommend that babies be breastfed for up to a year because of the nutritional value found in breast milk. By ensuring that employers allow break time and create private spaces for breast pumping, Provision 207 allows women to continue providing their babies with breast milk well past the six-month mark.
The petition has drawn hundreds of comments from mothers, fathers, and the community citing how important Provision 207 has been for them. Like this father, many lives will be affected if it is omitted:
“I believe that all women should be able to supply milk for their babies. Breastfeeding is a proven health benefit to the mother and child. My wife and I both work full time. Because of this provision, my wife was able to go back to work and still supply milk for both of our babies. Because of my wife supplying natural breast milk, our children are more developed, we have saved money from buying formula, and I have been able to bond further with our infant by giving them breast milk in a bottle supplied by mom.”