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Employer Resources for Supporting Lactating Employees

Tips, tools and information you can use to strengthen your lactation program.

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Statistics and Data

Breastfeeding Initiation Rates by Location

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Retention Rate for Employees of Companies with Lactation Support Programs

Companies with Lactation Support Programs                     94.2%

National Average                            59%

0%         10%         20%         30%         40%         50%         60%         70%         80%         90%         100%

The data on this page is taken from the CDC website and the "Business Case for Breastfeeding," by the office of Women's Health. You can view the source of the data by clicking on the boxes above.

Lactation Legislation

Federal

In 2010, section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 (29 U.S. Code 207) to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express milk. The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk. If employees do any amount of work during this break, it must be compensated. The federal requirements shall not preempt a state law that provides greater protections to employees.

Since 2019, this law requires certain public buildings to provide a shielded, hygienic space other than a bathroom, that contains a chair, working surface and an electrical outlet for use by members of the public to express milk.

Administered and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since 2000, this act requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause the employer an undue hardship.

This legislation applies to students and protects against discrimination based on sex, which covers pregnancy and nursing mothers. Some examples of this protection are:

  • Lactation-related impairments, such as serious infections should be accommodated as other medical conditions would be.

  • Harassment or discrimination based on the fact that the student is a nursing mother may constitute illegal sex discrimination or harassment.

  • Absences from class to nurse or pump should be excused. A doctor’s note staging it is medically necessary for the student to pump on a certain schedule may be required.

Passed in 2022, this law expands the coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act, requiring a wider range of employers to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for their nursing child for one year after the child's birth each time such employee has need to express the milk. Employees are entitled to a place to pump at work, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

State

Breastfeeding women are eligible for the special supplemental food program for women, infants and children (WIC).

Requires health insurance policies to provide coverage for at least one home health care visit within 48 hours after discharge and these visits should include assistance and training in breastfeeding.

Allows mothers to breastfeed in public without penalty. Breastfeeding may not be considered a nuisance, obscenity or indecent exposure under this law.

Allows breastfeeding women who request to be excused, to be exempt or excused from jury duty.

Enacts the Keystone Mothers’ Milk Bank Act; revises provisions regulating milk banks that provide donor human milk in this Commonwealth; expands licensee requirements; provides for the inspection of facilities and documentation; provides certain exemptions.

Exempts sales tax on the sale at retail or use of tangible personal property manufactured for the purpose of initiating, supporting or sustaining breastfeeding.

Car-making factory

How to get started

Lactation Support Policies

In order to provide clarity to supervisors, team members and lactating employees, it is highly recommended that every employer provide a written lactation support policy. This policy should set clear guidelines and expectations surrounding break time for pumping (length of the break, flexibility of schedules, whether the break time is paid, include time for traveling to lactation spaces, etc.),  the minimum requirements for lactation spaces (adhering to federally mandated requirements and company specific expectations), the length of time these requests can be accommodated, and the system for which employees can request an accommodation. 

Some sample lactation policies are provided below:

Higher education: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania

Retail Stores: 

Food Industry: Burger King

Manufacturing:

Lactation Spaces

Lactation spaces can be temporary in nature when more permanent solutions are not available, however, all spaces should adhere to the following guidelines; a comfortable chair, a table or counter, a private space that can be locked, a power source, access to a sink nearby, and the room cannot be a restroom. It is recommended that employers provide criteria for ad hoc spaces to supervisors (example), however, a permanent dedicated room is preferable. 

Disclaimer for Lactation Room Refrigerator

Any breast milk stored in the refrigerator must be labeled with the name of the employee and the date of expressing the breast milk. Any nonconforming products stored in the refrigerator may be disposed of. Employees storing milk in the refrigerator assume all responsibility for the safety of the milk and the risk of harm for any reason, including improper storage, refrigeration, and tampering (taken from SHRM website).

Lactation Break Time

Support from Leadership

When leadership vocalizes support for lactation breaks and makes it a priority to provide the funding and space needed for parents to pump in the workplace, it sets an example for all employees and normalizes any accommodation requests. Additionally, providing training to managers so they know how to appropriately accommodate lactation requests ensures a consistent company culture and support for lactating parents.

Breastfeeding Support in the Workplace Tips for Managers

Helpful Guides

Toolkit for Establishing Lactation Support on University and College Campuses

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Solutions for Retail Stores

The Business Case for Breastfeeding

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