This isYour Victory

Passing the South Carolina Lactation Support Act

More Progress

As one of WREN’s top priorities in the 2019-2020 session, the Lactation Support Act built on the success of the South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodation Act to provide all employees break time to express breastmilk in a clean, private location. The bill received unanimous, bipartisan support throughout its legislative journey and was signed by the Governor immediately after passage.

The Issue

Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition for infants, helps prevent disease and infection, and improves survival rates during the first year of life.  Many people who return to work discontinue breastfeeding early because of a lack of resources or support in the workplace.  Regular “pumping” breaks based on the baby’s feeding schedule are necessary to avoid severe pain, risk of infection, risk to milk supply, and other complications.

The Action

Representative Henderson Myers (SC-31) introduced the Lactation Support Act to support people who want to express breastmilk for their babies and stay in the workforce. As Rep. Henderson Myers told the Senate subcommittee, “This bill is critical to our women in South Carolina. … It’s a win-win for families. It’s a win-win for employers.”

People from across South Carolina shared their experience with expressing breastmilk at work and emphasized to legislators that a supportive workplace is key to continuing breastfeeding. Those stories moved legislators to act.

When the COVID 19 pandemic hit, the Lactation Support Act only needed third reading from the Senate and a concurrence vote in the House. Representative Henderson Myers and WREN did not stop pushing for the bill to move during the unprecedented session and that determination led to the bill becoming law.

The Result

Employers must provide employees with reasonable break time to express breast milk.

South Carolina law now gives you this explicit right.

With the passage of this Act and the SC Pregnancy Accommodations Act in 2018, South Carolina has gone from being one of the least accommodating states in the nation for pregnant people and parents to one that sets the standard for the Southeast.

What's Next

As this legislation is implemented, we’ll be working hard on our end to ensure proper compliance.

If you have questions about what rights you may have at work, you can contact the SC Human Affairs Commission or call the A Better Balance’s (ABB) legal helpline.

ABB is a national, nonprofit legal advocacy organization and they are a key partner to WREN in our work to improve workplace laws. Their free and confidential legal helpline can help you understand your workplace rights around caring for yourself and your family members.

ABB’s Free Work-Family Legal Helpline: 1-833-NEED-ABB (1-833-633-3222)

From the Community