By Joshua Albert
A new law signed by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on Wednesday will require business owners to provide a place for mothers to express milk, or they could be fined up to $2000 and additional penalties.
The Bill was introduced by Councilman David Oh in an effort to improve workplace equality and curb economic pitfalls that likely occur if women are forced to lose income due to breastfeeding.
This bill,” said City Councilman David Oh, who introduced the legislation, “addresses the issue of treating people fairly and on the merits. It’s a constitutional right and it’s smart. Success for women in the workplace is critical for Philadelphia to have a competitive economy. Women who are mothers should be able to be successful, happy, and fulfilled in the workplace.
The bill was passed unanimously by city council and will take effect immediately. Employers however can apply for exemption if they can prove complying with this new law will provide a “undue hardship.” To be eligible for the exemption employers must be able to prove the following conditions:
(i) the nature and cost of the accommodations; (ii) the overall financial resources of the employer’s facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodations, including the number of persons employed at such facility, the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodations upon the operation of the employer; (iii) the overall financial resources of the employer, including the size of the employer with respect to the number of its employees and the number, type and location of its facilities; and (iv) the type of operation or operations of the employer, including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce, the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer. (Philadelphia Code § 9-1128(2)).
JoAnne Fischer, executive director of the Maternity Care Coalition, told the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“We are thrilled to know women in Philadelphia will have a new level of protection as they breast-feed their babies. This represents a major milestone in the lives of working families.”
Headline photo from http://bestof2sisters.com/2012/11/20/breastfeeding-in-public/