Breastfeeding mothers who are returning to work are met with an array of challenges. From bulky pump parts to keeping with a schedule, there’s no shortage of stress placed on mothers returning to the office. That’s why as a business owner, it’s important to provide adequate lactation accommodations to breastfeeding mothers in the office. If your organization needs guidance on how to best provide lactation accommodations, keep reading for a few helpful tips from Prescott HR!
What is the law?
There are federal and state laws in place to protect breastfeeding individuals who need lactation accommodations in the office. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires organizations to provide a private place (that is not a bathroom) for employees to express breast milk for up to one year after their child’s birth. Federal law does state that if your organization has under 50 employees and providing lactation accommodations would cause “undue hardship,” then you are not required to provide these accommodations. State laws tend to be more generous in terms of protections offered to lactating employees. Some states require that organizations allow lactating employees to take breaks for longer than one year.
What should accommodations look like?
Now that you understand the importance of providing lactation accommodations for breastfeeding employees, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- A lactation space is not a bathroom: The law requires employers to provide a clean and private space for lactating mothers. This does not mean setting up a space in a bathroom. The room does not necessarily have to serve only as a lactation room; it can have other functions as well. But keep in mind that if a lactating employee is using it during the day, then that activity must take precedence.
- Make it comfortable: The room in which you select should have a comfortable chair, a side table for the employee’s pump, and an electric outlet nearby. You also want to ensure that the door has a functioning lock. You can also print a Do Not Disturb sign for your employee to hang on the outside of the door when they are using the room.
- Allow them time: Pumping breastmilk can take up to 30 minutes to get set up, express the milk, clean the pump parts, etc. Be sure to allow your lactating employees adequate time to pump.
- Offer proper refrigeration: Once your lactating employee has finished pumping, they will need somewhere to store their breastmilk. Be sure to have a functioning refrigerator or dedicated cooler in the office so that they can keep their breastmilk cold.
- Don’t forget about remote workers: Remote workers have the great advantage of pumping in the privacy of their own homes. Keep in mind that they will need adequate break times to pump throughout the day.
Work with Prescott HR
Does your organization need help with establishing lactation accommodations at the office? We are here to help! Prescott HR offers a wide range of services that can help your organization evaluate your current policies and incorporate new ones, as needed. Our unintimated HR practices allow us to be focused and effective, providing your business with precisely what you need. Give us a call today at 443-351-8818 or contact us online.