Owners of both private and public buildings may face jail time for not providing breastfeeding rooms within their structures for lactating mothers.
According to a bill proposed by Murang’a Women Rep Sabina Wanjiru Chege, who has in the past urged women to seek more political positions, all buildings will be required to have rooms for changing babies.
The Breastfeeding Mothers Bill 2017 proposes that employers and owners of buildings with more than 30 occupants should set aside special dedicated breastfeeding rooms where nursing mothers can feed their infants with ease.
The bill states:
“Every employer is required to establish a lactation place in the workplace. This place shall be clean, quiet, private and warm, not be a bathroom or toilet, have a lockable door, have a wash basin, have a fridge for storing expressed milk, have an electric outlet and lighting a chair, table and a clean space to store equipment.”
In addition, employers are required to provide a physical environment that is safe for the baby as well as programs that develop a baby’s cognitive, emotional, social and language abilities. They will also employ an adequate number of trained staff to help out with nutritionally balanced meals and snacks daily for both mother and child.
If passed, employers will also be ensuring flexible working hours for lactating mothers. Failure to do as stated will draw a huge fine or prison time.
“It is an offense for an employer not to comply with the above. The penalty is a fine not exceeding KSh 500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one (1) year or both,” the bill states.
Little is known whether or not if this bill would pass among her male colleagues. Representative Sabina Wanjiru Chege is, however, well respected and has been voted chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Research and Technology.
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