Council Passes Bills Requiring Paid Parental Leave for County Employees and Lactation Rooms in County Buildings 

by Patrick Herron

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 26, 2022Today the Montgomery County Council voted to enact two bills, introduced by Councilmember Andrew Friedson and cosponsored by all other Councilmembers, that will benefit working parents in Montgomery County Government.

Bill 10-22, the Paid Parental Leave Act, will provide six weeks of paid parental leave for County employees at 100 percent of the employee’s salary. Bill 11-22, the Right to Nourish Act, will require the County to provide lactation rooms or alternative accommodations for employees in its buildings.

“I am proud that the Montgomery County Government will now provide paid parental leave and accessible lactation rooms to our public employees, modeling the type of family-friendly policies we want all employers to implement,” said Councilmember Friedson. “This standard requirement will help our working parents avoid the impossible and false choices between work and family life to support our labor force and ultimately improve the services we provide to residents.”

Both bills seek to expand support for County employees who are new parents and improve the well-being of both the parents and their children.

The goal of the Paid Parental Leave Act is to improve maternal mental and physical health, allow for parents to have greater involvement in caretaking and enhance the economic security of the many families who support the County government’s operations. Paid parental leave has also been proven to increase retention and productivity and boost labor force participation.

The Right to Nourish Act will allow parents who are able to and choose to breastfeed to continue doing so when they return to work at County-owned building. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Montgomery County has one of the highest rates of breastfeeding initiation in Maryland, at 96.3 percent. The Right to Nourish Act is aimed at supporting these efforts, so that parents will not be forced to choose between returning to work and continuing to breastfeed.

The ability to breastfeed may have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of mothers and their infants. Breastfed infants have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, asthma, infection and sudden infant death syndrome. For mothers, breastfeeding lowers the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. The County will likely also see additional socio-economic benefits, as breastfeeding is linked to decreased direct and indirect insurance claim costs and missed days from work due to caring for a sick infant.

The Paid Parental Leave Act will require the County to:

  • provide paid parental leave to County employees prior to the effective date of Maryland’s Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program; and
  • pay an employee’s salary, minus benefits under the state Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program, for certain leave taken under the state Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program.

The Right to Nourish Act will:

  • Require County buildings to include a lactation room for County employees or provide alternative accommodations;
  • require employees to receive break time for lactation needs;
  • require the County Executive to establish personnel regulations for certain accommodations; and
  • require that certain educational materials will be posted on the County’s website.

You can view the staff report for the Paid Parental Leave Act here and the staff report for the Right to Nourish Act here. Councilmember Friedson was joined by local and state leaders and community advocates in June for a press conference to announce both bills. You can view highlights on the Council’s YouTube page.


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