Friday, March 4, 2011

"Breast Feeding Laws: Federal and State"

Check Federal and if there is a specific law for your state. It is posted on the National Conference of State Legislatures Website (blogger not cooperating with links). Search for breastfeeding laws.

I should have known NYS puts in an unpaid break clause… I read the Federal, no other state. The only legislation I could find regarding smoking is that smokers must smoke in designated areas only. OK equality that both need designated areas to occur: that’s it!

I am sure the laws were put into affect so a woman is guaranteed the choice to continue breastfeeding. This particular company is mostly women. Every company I have worked at that is mostly women is low on the pay scale but high on the intangibles: we are allowed to eat at our desks, flexible schedules, holidays, monthly bagel breakfast, etc. Many people go out for their hour lunch break to do errands THEN eat lunch at their desk. Maybe this is a solution that would work? Lunch is unpaid time off? Somehow I don’t think mom can eat her lunch and pump milk simultaneously.

If a woman wants to pump and store breast milk for her child she should be given the facilities and privacy to do this: I agree. Smokers should be allowed to smoke in the designated areas (at our building that is 50 feet from entrances): I agree. (Though where I work, I always choke because they smoke 10 feet from the doors as I walk into work but different issue.)

I still do not comprehend how NYS can regulate one type of paid break and not regulate all paid breaks? The issue is not male/female, mom/not mom, nursing/non-nursing, or smoker/non-smoker. The issue is discrimination, plain and simple, over the type of break and how the Law is not treating breaks equally.

Whatever the number of breaks/total time a company allows employees to take (our lunch is unpaid time off, of course) I think that is when all texting, smoking, breast pumping, non-work tasks should take place. Allowing one group of people a paid break whenever they want for one reason while penalizing another group for their reason is discrimination. I guess the mom’s who receive phone calls from a sick child should punch out as well? I am guess this is what the Company policy may come to: punching out for all breaks.

I would love to be a mom BUT I am so glad I do not have to deal with this issue. No matter how you look at it, it is not an easy decision to make. Babies are healthier being breast fed their first year of life but this law makes mom have to stay at work longer to nourish her child properly? To breast feed or to not breast feed becomes a harder decision to decide and keep when you need two incomes… as the smokers say goodnight the nursing mom’s are putting in extra time to make up for milking time: does not compute!

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