By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Mayor Nutter has signed a bill that requires all Philadelphia employers to give workers who are nursing mothers the space and time to pump milk while on the job.
“It is now the law of Philadelphia,” says Mayor Nutter — who put pen to paper and signed a major change to the city’s Fair Practices law. Companies must now offer what is called “reasonable accommodations” to female workers who pump breast milk while at work.
Among those praising the change was JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of the Maternity Care Coalition:
“Even though we’ve had some of these rules in place, through the Affordable Care Act, and through the city ordinance, we hear from women every day that they’re not able to breast feed in their workplace.”
Fischer says now that it is the law, more education — of employers and employees — is needed:
“So one of our first goals has to be to make sure that women know that they can do this. And they have to help employers (know). Because none of us wants to take our lunch in the bathroom. Neither do babies.”
Officials — including the bill’s sponsor, Councilman David Oh — acknowledge that these workplace protections are already afforded to women under federal law. But supporters say making them explicit in the city code boosts awareness and gives new mothers a venue through which to file a grievance.
Violators would be subject to fines of $2,000 under the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.
The new bill defines ‘reasonable accommodation’ as unpaid break time, or permission to use existing paid break time or a mealtime, to pump milk.
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