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Virginia Breastfeeding Laws

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REPORTING VIOLATIONS OF VIRGINIA BREASTFEEDING LAWS:

If you ever have an incident where you are asked to leave or cover up in a public place please let CINCH know. They are tracking these incidents. Additionally, they offer training to the site where it occurred so that it won’t happen again. – Consortium for Infant and Child Health, CINCH.

SUMMARY OF ENACTED BREASTFEEDING LEGISLATION in VIRGINIA

Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002, 2015) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breastfeeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (HB 1264, HB 1499)

Va. Code  18.2-387 (1994) exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.

Va. Code 2.2-1147.1 (2002) guarantees a woman the right to breast-feed her child on any property owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breast-feeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child. (H.B. 1264)

HJ 145 (2002) Encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breast-feed or express milk.

Va. Chapter No. 195 (2005) Provides that a mother who is breast-feeding a child may be exempted from jury duty upon her request. The mother need not be “necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care . . . during normal court hours” as the existing statute provides.

Website by Jake Marcus JD – Breastfeeding and the Law (not Virginia specific, but has a lot of up to date information)

Comments (13)

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    Bess Kennedy

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    Is there a fine when employers don’t comply with the federal or this state law HJ 145 (2002) ?

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      Kate Noon

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      No fine at the state or federal level. HJ 145 is what is known as a resolution, and it is not an enforceable law by any means. The language is also “encourages” – not requires or mandates, so employers are not bound by this law. The federal law provides protection to some but not all mothers. For example hourly workers at a business of 50+ employees are covered, but salaried workers or anyone working somewhere with less than 50 employees are not. More info on federal law here: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm
      Efforts are being made to strengthen VA’s pumping law. To get involved, check out the FB group VA Alliance for Breastfeeding Laws. Through out FB page you can also access attorneys who provide free info and advisement on resolving breastfeeding related issues and the law.

      Reply

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    Louise

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    The breastfeeding law card link doesn’t work – I really want some for an upcoming event!

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      vabreastfeeding

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      We don’t have a link to the card, but will announce if a new card is going to be made on our Facebook page. Thank you for letting us know about the link!

      Reply

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    BI

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    Is it legal or not to discriminate a breastfeeding mom from a private owned property under the last amendment to the law?

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      Kate Noon

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      Under the 2015 amendment to the VA right to breastfeed law, a mother has a right to breastfeed in ANY place open to the public that she has a right to be. So if the mother is legally present (not trespassing, not at a private club where she is not a member or guest), she can breastfeed. If the mother is asked to stop, leave, move, or cover then that is a violation of the law. The law does not apply to private residences (ex. Inside your neighbors house). Hope that is helpful in clarifying the law.

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    Bill Parker

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    are public buildings (i.e. community centers or theaters) required to make a private space available to mothers needing to breastfeed, other than restrooms?

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      vabreastfeeding

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      Virginia law protects mothers nursing anywhere they are allowed to legally be to breastfeed. They do not have to go into restrooms. Businesses do not have to provide a space.

      Reply

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    C BROWN

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    Are there any laws restricting our supporting the storage of breast milk in the workplace?

    Reply

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