With our help, many employers have created breastfeeding friendly work environments. We are pleased to announce that Rep Mary Jo Daley (148th District) is our newest certified Breastfeeding Friendly Employer. We recently interviewed State Rep. Daley about her decision to join this important initiative.
How did you first become aware that you wanted to become a breastfeeding friendly employer?
In 2013, I sponsored a bill that would provide sanitary workplace accommodations for nursing mothers, so the topic was on my mind. Sometime after that, I met folks from the Maternity Care Coalition who asked if I would be interested in becoming a breastfeeding friendly employer. We did not have any nursing mothers in the office at that time, but we certainly could in the future, so it seemed like a good idea, even if only used by constituents coming into the office.
Why do you think it’s important that employers become breastfeeding friendly?
Breastfeeding friendly workplaces are good for employees, their babies and employers. Nursing mothers often want to continue nursing which means that if they return to work, they need to pump. Having a breastfeeding friendly environment in place relieves them of having to ask for special consideration and they can incorporate plans to pump along with all of the other factors they need to consider when returning to work. Babies benefit from breastfeeding through enhanced immunity and better defenses against illnesses when in childcare facilities. This helps employers by lowering the number of sick days that new moms and dads need to take off from work to care for a sick baby.
How do you think becoming certified has affected your workplace and workforce?
At this time, we do not have any employees who are also new parents, but I think it tells our employees and my constituents that we are a family-friendly workplace and that this is important for them to know.
What steps did you take in order to become certified? How did MCC help you in becoming certified?
MCC helped us to become certified as a breastfeeding friendly employer. They provided information on what would be needed and consulted with us on how to become certified. They were very supportive and had lots of good information.
What are the benefits for employers who become certified?
In addition to the family health benefits and employees not needing as much time off to care for a sick baby, employers who become certified could experience great appreciation and loyalty from their employees. It would be a meaningful step toward positive employer/employee relationship.
How are you supporting breastfeeding employees in your role as a State Representative?
I will again sponsor a bill to provide sanitary workplace accommodations for nursing mothers and will be working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the bill this session. This bill is part of the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health and has state -wide support from advocacy groups. I welcome opportunities to speak about the benefits of the bill to businesses, non-profit organizations, and anywhere that will further educate people about the benefits of breastfeeding. It is my understanding that the same bill will be introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate, meaning that the bill can move in parallel tracks.
People need to let their state representatives and senators know that sanitary workplace accommodations are important to them and ask them to support the House and Senate bills. I can provide bill numbers when they become available.
Congratulations Rep. Mary Jo Daley and thank you for supporting breastfeeding families!