Hooray to Elliot Spitzer! Things like this make me proud to be a New Yorker!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 22, 2007
GOVERNOR SIGNS INTO LAW LEGISLATION PROTECTING RIGHTS OF NURSING MOTHERS IN THE WORKPLACE
Governor Eliot Spitzer has signed into law legislation that protects working mothers. ability to continue providing nutrient-rich breast milk to their infants upon return to the workplace.
The legislation requires employers to provide uncompensated time, and make a reasonable effort to provide private space for women to express milk or nurse their children for a period of up to three years following the birth of a child. In addition, it also bars an employer from discriminating against an employee exercising this right.
"A woman should not be forced to sacrifice her ability to provide for her children economically or nutritionally," said Governor Spitzer. "Employers know the merit of retaining valuable employees, and this modest accommodation allows mothers who chose to breast feed to continue their invaluable contribution to the economy without fearing for their job."
The Assembly and the Senate unanimously approved this legislation.
Assemblywoman Roann Destito, sponsor of the legislation, said: "This new law is a major victory for all New York families as well as employers because it protects a mother's care for her child and strengthens her ability to be a dedicated employee. A young mother was fired in my district for expressing breast milk for her child. That will not happen again because today we recognize that all women may choose to work and that their children will have the best nutritional care available at the early stages of life."
Senator John J. Flanagan, sponsor of the legislation, said: "Where our current labor laws fail to protect individuals in the workplace, the government has a responsibility to step in and correct these deficiencies. More and more mothers are choosing to work outside the home or are being forced to return to work to make ends meet. This critically important legislation will enable these mothers to raise and provide for their families in an accepting workplace environment without fear of discrimination."
Kate Kahan, Director of Work & Family at the National Partnership for Women & Families, said: "This bill is an important, welcome step in making New York's workplaces more family-friendly. We have known for years that breast feeding has real benefits, but too many working women are unable to nurse their babies because their employers do not make simple accommodations. That will change for countless working moms in New York as a result of this law, and their children will be stronger and healthier as a result. We thank Governor Spitzer and every lawmaker and advocate who supported and advanced this legislation."
Liz Watson of the New York City Bar Association's Sex and Law Committee said: "This law is a win-win for businesses and families. Businesses win because employees who are new parents will miss work less often and have lower health care costs because breastfed babies are healthier. Families win because mothers will not have to quit breastfeeding when they return to work. The New York City Bar Association applauds Governor Spitzer, Senator Flanagan, Assemblywoman Destito and the mothers around New York State for their work to pass this important legislation that will benefit New York's children."