Ulster County Legislature Moves to Expand Breastfeeding Access to County Employees

Posted August 25, 2023

(Kingston, NY) – At its August 15th Legislative Session, the Ulster County Legislature voted unanimously to pass Resolution No. 421, which would require the county to provide reserved space exclusively for nursing mothers to privately pump and store breastmilk.

“"In a country where mothers too often find themselves sidelined, their pivotal role undermined, Ulster County's progressive breastfeeding policy shines as a beacon of change. No longer will mothers be relegated to bathroom corners or cramped spaces to nourish their children. This policy marks a critical juncture, a stand against the erosion of maternal agency. It is a call to end the absurdity of non-parent government officials imposing medical and educational choices. Let this policy resonate as a symbol of real, tangible support for the backbone of our society, safeguarding their rights and dignity,” said Legislator Joe Maloney (District 2 – Saugerties), one of the authors of the Resolution.

Under the federal Providing Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act, enacted in January 2023, most employers must provide reasonable break time and a location other than a bathroom for nursing mothers to pump breast milk up to one year after the birth of their child. New York is one of only 27 states that have expanded protections to provide break time for up to three years. Still, due to gaps in federal protections for certain employees, over nine million mothers across the country do not have adequate space or workplace protections to pump and store their breastmilk. 

“Ensuring fair access to a private space and adequate break times gives working mothers the ability to succeed in their workplace while caring for their families without fear of discrimination or retaliation. I am proud of our County for committing to making space for our employees and look forward to its expedient implementation,” said Legislator Laura Petit (District 8 – Esopus), co-author of the Resolution.

The full text of the Resolution can be found HERE.