Accommodating Breastfeeding Employees

Ensuring Your Company is in Compliance
A large majority of American mothers breastfeed their children, and employers must be prepared to accommodate breastfeeding mothers.  Breastfeeding employees generally need breaks to express milk every few hours throughout the workday to maintain their milk production and avoid health complications, like infections.   Breastfeeding employees also need a private, comfortable and clean space where they can express milk.
By adopting lactation-friendly policies, employers can ensure that they are in compliance with federal and state laws, and reap the benefits of improved employee retention and productivity, reduction in sick days, and lower health care and insurance costs.
Practical Resources for Accommodating Breastfeeding Workers

  • Supporting Nursing Moms At Work: Employer Solutions.  [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.]  This excellent guide provides detailed, illustrated, industry-specific solutions for the challenge of finding appropriate, private space and time for breastfeeding employees to express milk.
  • Easy Steps to Supporting Breastfeeding Employees.  [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.]   Looking to adopt a breastfeeding support program but not sure where to start?  This guide walks you through the entire process, from pilot study to implementation.

The Business Case for Breastfeeding

Supporting breastfeeding employees is not just a matter of legal compliance—it is a smart business decision.  This publication from the United States Department of Health and Human Services explains why.

Federal and State Breastfeeding Laws

In many cases, employers are required by state and federal law to provide break time, private space and other reasonable accommodations to breastfeeding workers.   Non-exempt workers nationwide are protected by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provisions of the Affordable Care Act.  Breastfeeding workers may also be protected by other federal laws, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Moreover, many states have their own break time and reasonable accommodation laws protecting nursing mothers.

Coming soon:  Legal Overview of Breastfeeding and Federal Employment Law.

Employers seeking advice on accommodating pregnant women or addressing other family caregiving issues may wish to contact Workforce 21C.

WorkForce21c_logo_60Workforce 21C provides advice and consulting services to employers and their advisers on issues related to pregnancy accommodation, gender bias in the workplace, and family responsibilities discrimination.