In Brief

Bill seeks to expand protections for employees who breastfeed

By: - February 28, 2022 6:35 am

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The Assembly is slated to vote on a bill Monday that would clarify protections for breastfeeding employees and ensure they’re accommodated under New Jersey’s anti-discrimination statute.

The measure (A795) aims to further protections offered under a 2018 law signed by then-Gov. Chris Christie that requires New Jersey employers to allow women to breastfeed or express breast milk during work hours.

The new bill would extend these measures to employees who experience pregnancy loss or are surrogates, not just women who are breastfeeding their own children. It would also change the language from “breastfeeding woman” to a “lactating employee.”

Under the legislation, employers would be required to give workers who are breastfeeding or lactating reasonable break times and protections for as long as the employee desires. It also would require employers to offer a modified work schedule or job restructuring at the employee’s regular pay rate.

The bill is sponsored by Assemblywomen Britnee Timberlake, Mila Jasey, and Angela McKnight, all Democrats.

Employers are already required to offer lactating workers a suitable place to pump breast milk that isn’t a bathroom stall. The new bill specifies the location cannot be a restroom.

The bill is slated for a vote in the Assembly Monday after unanimously advancing the Women and Children Committee earlier in February. There is no Senate companion bill, which is needed for it to make it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk.

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Sophie Nieto-Munoz
Sophie Nieto-Munoz

Sophie Nieto-Muñoz, a New Jersey native and former Trenton statehouse reporter for NJ.com, shined a spotlight on the state’s crumbling unemployment system and won several awards for investigative reporting from the New Jersey Press Association. She was a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her report on PetSmart's grooming practices, which was also recognized by the New York Press Club. Sophie speaks Spanish and is proud to connect to the Latinx community through her reporting.

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