To assist the transition of women from maternity leave back to work following the birth of a child, lactation accommodation is provided. Lactation accommodation allows a nursing mother to express milk periodically during the workday.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, long time advocates of breastfeeding, recently updated their research and findings of the beneficial impact of breastfeeding on the health of both the mother and the child.
It is in the best interests of the employee, her workplace, and the potential health of her child that the workplace support lactation accommodation as part of our efforts to help employees experience work-life balance. Lactation accommodation also allows your company to provide equal employment opportunity to employees with family responsibilities who desire to breastfeed their child.
Added in March 2010: If you have questions, as an employer, about the current requirements for breastfeeding mothers, this fact sheet from the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) updates you on the break time requirement for nursing mothers in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
They took effect when the PPACA was signed into law on March 23, 2010 (P.L. 111-148). This law amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Additionally, as you update your lactation policy, note that state laws supersede the Federal laws if your state's requirements provide more for the breastfeeding mom. So, do check your state's requirements, too. An excellent resource is provided by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Another resource about breastfeeding is available from the United States Breastfeeding Committee.
Lactation Accommodation Goals
Lactation accommodation goals are to:
- Ease the transition of mothers who return to work following the birth of a child.
- Enable mothers to breastfeed past the time off allotted by company PTO policies and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Assist mothers to attend work rather than having to take time away from work to express milk.
- Help control healthcare costs by providing the opportunity to develop a healthier infant.
- Ensure that women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy know that breastfeeding will be accommodated by their employer.
- Provide a motivating, employee-supportive work environment for all employees.
- Assist employees to experience work-life balance.
Lactation Accommodation Policy
All women who breastfeed their child, and who need to express milk during the working day, will work with their supervisor and Human Resources to determine how best to accommodate the needs of the mother while still accomplishing the performance of her job.
- Time for Lactation Accommodation: Supervisors may consider flexible working arrangements. Women may use their break and lunchtime to express milk. PTO hours can also be used to express milk if needed. Breaks to express milk should not last longer than 30 minutes. If an employee needs to take more than two breaks during the workday to express milk, the employee will need to use personal time (lunch, PTO, and so on.)
- The Environment for Lactation Accommodation: Human Resources will work with each nursing mother to determine a private area in which they may express milk. Milk should be placed in cooler-type containers and may be stored in company refrigerators.
Susan Heathfield makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice both on this website, and linked to from this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality, and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. The information on this site is for guidance, ideas, and assistance only.