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May 30, 2007
New Workplace Breastfeeding Law in Oregon

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski on May 17 signed legislation that requires employers of 25 or more employees to provide unpaid rest periods to employees to express milk, so long as providing them does not cause undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

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The legislation, House Bill 2372b, also requires covered employers to make reasonable efforts to provide private location where employee can express milk.

Employers are required to provide a 30-minute rest period to express milk during each 4-hour period, to be taken "approximately in the middle of the work period." An employee taking a rest period to express milk should take it, if feasible, at the same time as the rest or meal periods otherwise provided to the employee.

An employee is entitled to use any paid accrued sick leave, paid accrued vacation leave or other paid leave that the employer offers in lieu of vacation leave during the rest periods used by the employee to express milk.

Employers should provide a location other than a public restroom or toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee's work area for the employee to express milk in private. This may include the employee's work area; a room connected to a public restroom, such as a lounge; or a child care facility in close proximity to the employee's work location.

Oregon's Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries may assess a penalty of up to $1,000 against any employer that willfully violates the law.

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