By Suzanne Monaghan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia City Council committee has voted to put protections in place for new mothers who pump breast milk at work.
Under the measure, it would be against the law for a Philadelphia employer to not accommodate a woman’s need to lactate or express breast milk at work. That means companies must provide nursing mothers with the appropriate time and space to pump while on the job.
“No one would prepare a meal in a bathroom; therefore, women should not be expected to express milk in an unsanitary environment like a bathroom,” said Dr. Esther Chung, the medical director of the Newborn Nursery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Rue Landau, the head of the city’s Human Relations Commission (top photo), says the bill further underscores the city’s commitment to all employees and families, particularly women.
“This is critical because many Philadelphia families rely on working women for their survival. Census data show that women remain the primary or co-breadwinners in 2 in 3 Philadelphia households,” said Landau.
Nursing mothers are already protected under federal law, but the city code will give women a local venue to file a complaint with the Human Relations commission.
The bill now heads to full council for a vote.