By Maria Valdez Haubrich

There’s so much to understand with the Health Reform Bill, a business owner, like myself, can get lost. One provision I recently learned about was one which recognizes breastfeeding and requires all employers to provide break time and private space for nursing mothers to pump breast milk at work. I guess the federal legislation only covers hourly workers, and not salaried, but some state laws cover both.

It’s heartening to know breast-feeding workers won’t have to worry about being castigated for using their breaks to express breast milk that is so vital for developing babies’ immune systems. It’s also one of those laws that you think, “Really? They had to make this a law to make some employers open-minded and show a little humanity?” Jeesh!

When I was pumping for my two young ones (years ago) there was never a question my office would find a space for myself and other lactating women to express in private. Of course, my boss was a woman and the staff at that point were having babies left and right, so it all seemed quite normal. I did hear about other workplaces where this was not the case, and I found it shocking.

The Department of Labor, just last month, published a Fact Sheet to clear up some of the questions employers might, such as small businesses with under 50 employees are not required to provide the breaks if they can show “undue hardship” and the bathroom does not count as a provided private space.