Employers Risk One-Year Imprisonment For Offices Lacking Lactation Rooms

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Kenyan employers may face a one-year jail term or a fine of Ksh1 million or both for lacking lactation rooms within their offices.

In a new bill that was tabled before parliament referred to as the Breastfeeding Mothers Bill 2024, all employers are required to establish lactation rooms within their offices.

The bill mandates that the lactation room should be a separate room from the bathroom and toilet.

Further, the room should be shielded from view, clean, quiet and free from intrusion from co-workers.

An undated image of a mother breastfeeding.

PROGRAM.ORG

The room should also have a lockable door; a wash basin and a fridge for storing expressed milk.

It should also have a provision for an electric outlet, lighting, a chair, a table and a clean space to store equipment.

Additionally, the bill provides that employers should provide breaks for mothers to breastfeed or express breastmilk in the new proposal.

“Any employer who does not comply with this section commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both,” stated the bill.

However, the bill provides that mothers will utilise the rooms only when breastfeeding or expressing milk.

According to the proposed legislation, employers within Kenya will also be mandated to create and review flexible working arrangements with breastfeeding mothers.

The arrangement shall specify, the number of hours the employee is to work, the type and number of work assignments; and the exact location of where the employee is to work.

However, the arrangement may be revoked if the employee violates the terms of employment.

“A person shall not discriminate a woman on any ground including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or any other maternity-related condition, in accessing employment opportunities or benefits,” read the bill in part

The requirements are required to come into force within one year of the passing of the bill.

A sample of a lactation room at the Stony Brook University

Photo

Stony Brook University



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