A Breastfeeding Friendly Congressional Workplace

Feeling comfortable with breastfeeding your baby and now you’re going back to work. You should be able to keep breastfeeding. There’s a federal law that requires employers to provide a “reasonable” amount of time and “a private space other than a bathroom” for expressing milk.

Ironically, in the U.S. Capitol, this wasn’t the case for working mothers who are government employees. For a work force of 7,000 women working in the Capitol, there were only 12 lactation rooms. For that size group, the necessary total is closer to 42. This also means there weren’t enough accessible places for tourists or constituents.

However, that changed on June 9, 2016!

The House passed an amendment to meet the GSA (General Services Administration) standards for lactation space support. Now all the office buildings in the Capitol will have to have proper, adequate space for lactation support.

Help for working mothers, support for breastfeeding and doing all this in a bi-partisan manner. That was productive news from Congress. The authors of this amendment were Representative Peter Welch (D-VT), Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA).

“…(W)omen in the U.S. Capitol Complex should have access to a clean, private place to breastfeed and care for their families,” said Congressman Welch. “This long overdue action will position Congress to lead by example as employers across the country transform the workplace to support working mothers.

The Capitol of the United States should be accommodating to working women as well as thousands of nursing moms who visit the Capitol every year,” said Congresswoman Herrera Beutler.

Having workplaces that accommodate the needs of our hard working American mothers makes our economy stronger,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “Our U.S. Capitol complex should … set the highest example for the American people.”

Keep up the good work and working moms can keep up their good work, too.

close up watercolor of clock hands

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