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By HILARY KIMUYU

Owners of private and public buildings may be jailed for not providing lactation rooms within their premises if Parliament passes a proposed law.

All buildings will also be required to have rooms for changing babies.

The Breastfeeding Mothers Bill, 2017, tabled in Parliament by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege, proposes that employers and owners of buildings with more than 30 occupants to set aside special rooms where breastfeeding mothers can express milk for infants.

LACTATION PLACE

“Every employer is required to establish a lactation place in the workplace. This place shall be, clean, quiet, private and warm, not be a bathroom or toilet, have a lockable door, have a wash basin, have a fridge for storing expressed milk, have an electric outlet and lighting a chair, table and a clean space to store equipment,” the bill states.

If passed, employers will be obliged to offer free meals to lactating mothers and ensure flexible working hours for lactating mothers.

Employers are additionally required to provide a physical environment that is safe for the baby, provide appropriate programs that develop a baby’s cognitive, emotional, social and language abilities, employ an adequate number of trained staff and provide nutritionally balanced meals and snacks daily.

“It is an offence for an employer not to comply with the above. The penalty is a fine not exceeding Sh500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one (1) year or both,” the bill states.