Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 14, 2022
The Paid Parental Leave Act would require the County to provide paid parental leave to County employees; the Right to Nourish Act would require County buildings to include a lactation room
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 14, 2022—Today, Councilmember Andrew Friedson introduced two bills to benefit working parents in Montgomery County government. Bill 10-22, the Paid Parental Leave Act, would provide six weeks of paid parental leave for County employees. In addition, Bill 11-22, the Right to Nourish Act, would require the County to provide lactation rooms or alternative accommodation for employees in its buildings. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors of both bills.
“I believe that Montgomery County government, as an employer of almost 10,000, must lead by the power of its example. We must model an environment that acknowledges, values and uplifts women, parents and families,” said Councilmember Andrew Friedson. “Historically, women in the workforce have been overburdened and under supported. COVID-19 has only exacerbated existing challenges. Helping new parents productively balance their work and family lives will strengthen the County government workforce and improve services we provide to residents.”
The bills are linked in their efforts to improve the well-being of parents and infants. By providing paid parental leave, the Paid Parental Leave Act is likely to improve maternal mental and physical health, allow for parents to have greater involvement in care and enhance the economic security of the many families who support the County government’s operations. In addition, paid parental leave has been shown to increase retention and productivity and boost labor force participation.
The Right to Nourish Act would allow parents who are able to and choose to breastfeed to continue to do so when they return to work at any 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 won’t 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.
Bill 10-22, the Paid Parental Leave Act, would 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
- require the County to 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.
Bill 11-22, the Right to Nourish Act, would 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 certain educational materials posted on the County’s website.
The Council staff report on the the Paid Parental Leave Act can be viewed here, and the staff report on the Right to Nourish Act can be viewed here. In addition, view highlights from the press conference on the Council’s YouTube channel.