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Nursing mothers will now be guaranteed reasonable break time at their place of employment under a new law supported by two area legislators.

The measure was sponsored by state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, and Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville. It was signed into law this week.

haine william square 2018“Breastfeeding is natural and necessary for many mothers,” Haine said. “Women should not be penalized at work for needing a little more time to keep on track with their nursing schedule.”

Haine’s new law, passed under House Bill 1595, amends the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act by requiring employers provide paid and reasonable break time for nursing mothers for up to one year after their child’s birth. Current state law only requires employers provide unpaid break time to nursing mothers.

The number of American mothers who breastfeed continues to increase every year. In 2013, more than 80 percent of American mothers breastfed their babies, which is up from a 2000 report that showed only 70 percent breastfed.

House Bill 1595 was sponsored in the Illinois House by Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, and goes into effect on July 1, 2018.