Maloney receives Breastfeeding Champion Award and celebrates World Breastfeeding Week in speech at Breastfeeding Caravan

Aug 7, 2015
Press Release
Congresswoman will soon reintroduce Supporting Working Moms Act to provide breastfeeding accommodations for more women in the workplace

NEW YORK – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today joined breastfeeding advocates, mothers, and the NYC Breastfeeding Leadership Council for their annual Subway Caravan at New York City Hall. The Council presented Maloney with the Breastfeeding Champion 2015 award for her work on breastfeeding rights for mothers. In her remarks, Maloney announced her intentions to reintroduce the Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace Act, which would build on an Affordable Care Act provision she authored, by requiring all employers to provide a clean and secure space for women to express breastmilk.

“Breastfeeding can have significant health benefits for the mother and the child, but the statistics show that far too many mothers still face difficulty breastfeeding,” Maloney said. “With two-thirds of new mothers returning to the workforce within six months of giving birth, we need to update workplace policies to help nursing mothers. We need to make sure that accommodation for nursing moms is not at the whim of an employer, but a fundamental workplace right. Soon I will reintroduce the Supporting Working Moms Act to ensure that more moms have workforce protections that guarantee safe and clean spaces for pumping.”

Earlier this week Congresswoman Maloney spoke at UNICEF prior to the screening of a documentary on breastfeeding entitled “Milk.” In “Milk,” Maloney explains her work on breastfeeding and her experience as the first woman to give birth while serving on the New York City Council. The film offers a universal perspective on the politics, commercialization and controversies surrounding birth and infant feeding over the canvas of stunningly beautiful visuals and poignant voices from around the globe.

The Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers in the Workplace Act would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to extend the requirement that employers provide reasonable break time for a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional employee or outside saleswomen who are exempt from federal labor laws that limit the number of hours in a workweek to express breast milk for her nursing. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is the Senate lead.

Maloney has been advocating for the rights of mothers who breastfeed since 1998:

  • In 1998, Maloney started to introduce the comprehensive breastfeeding legislation, to protect women who choose to express milk in public or at work.
  • In 1998, Maloney successfully pushed to allow state WIC agencies to purchase breast pumps for new mothers, making it easier for low-income moms to choose to breastfeed.
  • In 1999, Maloney included the right to breastfeed in the budget, protecting nursing mothers’ ability to feed and pump on all federal land. This was codified into the Code of Federal Regulations in 2011.
  • In 2009, Maloney and Senator Jeff Merkley introduced the Breastfeeding Promotion Act, and together worked to include vital protections for nursing mothers in the Affordable Care Act. Under that law, women gained new rights for break time and space to pump breast milk at work. Because of this protection, new mothers can choose to continue breastfeeding after they return to the workplace without fear of intimidation or retribution.
  • Now, Rep. Maloney is working to expand that workplace protection to all Americans—even if they work in historically “white collar” jobs that were excluded, she will reintroduce the Supporting Working Moms Act with Sen. Merkley.