Effectiveness in the Implantation of Law 155 of 2002 Ordering the Designation of Spaces for Breastfeeding in Government Agencies

Yolanda Lee Benítez, Ana M. Parrilla-Rodríguez, Palmira Ríos


As part of an effort to promote and protect breastfeeding among working mothers in Puerto Rico, Public Law 427 was passed in December 2000. This law grants a paid breastfeeding daily break for milk extraction in the workplace. In support of this initiative Public Law 155 was passed in 2002 ordering Secretaries, Directors, Presidents and Public Administrators of the government of Puerto Rico to designate breastfeeding spaces in the workplaces. Objective: Describe the level of compliance with the dispositions of Law 155 in government agencies. Methodology: A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out. A sample of 28 government agencies was randomly selected, representing 25% of the total number of agencies, and a structured telephone interview was administered using an instrument made up of 6 premises. Results: All (100%) of the agencies had knowledge about the existence of this law, but only 50% had set up and equipped the spaces. Of these, all had a table, a chair, and an electric outlet, 43% had available running water, and 71% provided a refrigerator for milk storage. Fifty three percent of the agencies reported having received followup communications to verify whether they were complying with the law, and 61% reported having a written public policy in support of breastfeeding for working mothers. Only 54% of the agencies stated they had offered some type of orientation to their women employees regarding their breastfeeding rights. Conclusions: In spite of over two years since the passing of Law 155, the majority of government agencies in Puerto Rico have not complied with its legal dispositions. It is necessary that the responsible entities watch for the satisfactory compliance with this law since working mothers need a secure and accesible place for milk extraction during the working day.

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