Why Kenyan women may be allowed to breast feed at work

Employers will have to set aside special breastfeeding areas for their employees

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Parliament is set to table a Bill that seeks to have employers reserve special breastfeeding areas for their employees with visitors with children.

Murang’a County women rep Sabina Chege, through the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill 2017, wants employers to provide breastfeeding stations inclusive of fridges and breast pumps for expressing milk.

The Bill states that mothers may choose to breast feed their babies at an estimated time of 40 minutes after every four hours or express the milk at the lactation place.

That notwithstanding the fact that they will be provided with trained nannies and offered balanced meals daily at the employer’s expense.

In addition, those with public facilities such as restaurants, with an occupancy of at best 30 people will also be expected to have baby changing facilities.

A jail term of one year or a fine of Sh500,000 or both will serve as a penalty to those who breach the changing room rule.

“The principal object of the Bill is to provide a legal framework on mothers who may wish to breast feed their children at the work place,” states Ms. Chege in the Bill.

This is not the first time that such a Bill is being brought to Parliament.

In 2015, Kitui South MP, Rachel Nyamai, brought a Health Bill that was meant to help women work and concurrently improve children’s health.

It however did not become law with the same proposal being rejected by the previous Parliament after business groups threatened not to employ women if pushed to provide breastfeeding facilities.

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