Rights of nursing mothers protected under signed legislation
Mike Seals - May 19, 2020 10:50 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt signed two bills Tuesday to protect state employees who are nursing. Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, authored the measures to ensure mothers are allowed daily break time and privacy to breastfeed or express milk.
“There is nothing more beneficial to a baby’s health than to be nursed. We want to support moms who choose this healthy option,” David said. “It’s something that needs to be done throughout the day to protect the milk supply and ensure the mother’s comfort. These changes will help support nursing moms and hopefully encourage more to consider this nutritious option for their kids.”
SB 285 requires state agencies to allow lactating employees reasonable paid break time to use a designated lactation room.
SB 1877 requires all buildings owned or leased by the state where state employees work to have a place other than a bathroom for breast feeding or to express breast milk.
“Lactation rooms can already be found in federal buildings for their employees. Oklahoma state employees deserve the same,” David said. “I’m proud of Oklahoma for supporting nursing mothers and ensuring Oklahoma’s children get off to a healthy start.”
Currently, federal law requires that all federally owned or leased buildings have a lactation room. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 to require employers to provide reasonable break times for employees to express breast milk for the first year of the child’s life.
Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, is the principal House author of both bills, which will become law November 1, 2020.
“Nursing mothers returning to work deserve consideration of their needs and privacy where they can lactate,” said Bush. “These bills ensure that state employees will have a designated room for lactation and appropriate break time allotted for them to take care of this need.”