Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nursing Mothers Bill Keeps Moving

A bill that would require Colorado employers to accommodate nursing mothers' need to breastfeed their infants or pump milk gained final approval in the Senate Monday and now heads to Gov. Bill Ritter.

HB 1276 provides that employers have to give female employees reasonable amounts of unpaid break time and/or paid breaks and/or mealtime in order to allow breastfeeding or pumping for up to two years after the employee's child is born.

The measure also requires employers to make "reasonable efforts" to provide privacy to the employee by means of a separate room and not a toilet stall.

The bill specifies that an employer does not have to take on any "undue hardship" to comply with the law. That phrase is has a meaning that is dependent on the financial condition and size of a business, the nature of its operations, and considerations of public safety.

The proposed "Workplace Accommodations for Nursing Mothers Act" was sponsored in the House by Rep. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and in the Senate by Sen. Dan Gibbs, D-Silverthorne.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 14 other states have laws that touch on the right of female employees to expel milk at work.