NHWF 2015 Policy Watch
Accommodations for nursing mothers
State Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth) announced that her first legislative initiative of the coming session is a bill that would require employees to provide appropriate accommodations for nursing mothers while at work.
“Given the known significant health benefits of breastfeeding and the widely varying situations in which mothers may need to nurse or express milk, clearly the time has come to guarantee a working mother’s right to have a clean, private place for such activity.”
Fuller Clark said she is “absolutely proud” of sponsoring and co-sponsoring legislation that strengthens women’s rights over the years, including the right to nurse a baby in public.
“More women are in the workplace, including young mothers, that need the flexibility and accommodations to nurse their babies,” she said. “If there is no accommodation, she should be allowed to leave the premises and go to the child’s daycare or home to nurse the baby and come back to work.”
The legislation offers employers reasonable latitude to provide such accommodations, dependent upon the specific nature of their business and its respective facilities but makes clear that working mothers must have access to a clean, comfortable and appropriate space, according to Fuller Clark.
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NHWF 2014 Policy Notes
In 2014, we supported SB 207, relative to paycheck equity, which prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of sex. You can read more about the bill here: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/Results.aspx?q=1&txtsessionyear=2014. We chose to support this important effort because men and women around the state told us that reducing the gender wage gap is one of their most pressing concerns – and we listened. SB 207 passed the Legislature with broad support, including a unanimous vote in the Senate! We worked with a diverse coalition of advocates on the bill, and Board members and other supporters testified at the SB 207 hearings and participated in a press conference. We are grateful to Gina Powers, senior government relations adviser with Rath, Young & Pignatelli, PC, for her expert guidance as we undertook the SB 207 campaign.
As we look ahead to 2015, our Research and Policy Committee will carefully examine new legislation to select priority proposals for the Women’s Foundation to support or oppose. We will also continue to participate in the Legislative Task Force on Work and Family, which has been an important forum for discussion of issues such as family leave. Stay tuned!