If the Senate health care bill is passed, employers will be required to give new moms special work breaks to pump breast milk and a private area to do so for one year after giving birth.
Page 1239 of the Senate health care bill titled “Reasonable Break Time for Nursing Mothers” says employers shall provide “a reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth time each time such employee has need to express the milk; a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
An employer, however, will not be required to pay employees for time spent nursing. Also, employers with fewer than 50 employees will not be required to provide private nursing areas and breaks “if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense.”
Before being inserted into the Senate bill, this provision was known as the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, championed by Sen. Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat. It was folded into the Senate bill because of studies showing children who are breastfed are healthier, which could help reduce health care costs over time.