Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley has announced he will today introduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act (BPA) in the U.S. Senate. The BPA would guarantee working mothers the right to breast-feed their children at their workplaces. Click here to read about Merkley’s proposal on Oregonlive.com.
The bill is identical to one introduced yesterday in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. and Rep. Lois Capps, D-CA. The law would amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, by to protect breast-feeding in the workplace; provide tax incentives for employers that establish private lactation methods in the workplace; establish minimum safety standards for breast pumps; make breast feeding equipment tax deductible; and create time and privacy for working mothers to express milk.
Oregon implemented a breastfeeding law in 2007, which gives women the right to privately express breast milk in the workplace. Employers with questions about that law may consult this helpful breastfeeding rest period fact sheet from the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries. Meanwhile, the Stoel Rives World of Employment will continue to follow the progress of the BPA as it makes its way (or not) through the 111th Congress.