Why Lactation Accommodation is Important
Returning to work after the birth of a baby is a critical transition point. Working mothers have lower breastfeeding rates and shorter duration of breastfeeding compared to non-working mothers. Mothers in low income occupations have lower breastfeeding rates than those in higher income occupations.
Many mothers choose to stop breastfeeding at this time due to concerns about not being accommodated at work. Other mothers may prolong their leave or not return to work at all if they perceive an unsupportive environment.
Supporting Lactation Accommodation Makes Business Sense
Businesses that offer lactation accommodations can benefit in many ways, such as decreased absenteeism and turnover as well as more productive, satisfied and loyal employees. Companies that adopt breastfeeding support programs see a cost savings of $3 for every $1 invested in the program.
LSE provides turnkey solutions and support to San Diego businesses across numerous industries to support lactation accommodation policies in the workplace. Industries include, but are not limited to: hospitality (hotels, casinos, etc…), non-profits, cities/government, retail, healthcare, engineering, technology, tourism, higher education and childcare.
LSE provides guidance and support through:
- Assessment of current needs and development of an implementation plan
- Policy samples and support of policy development or revision
- Implementation of policy and logistics to support both employees and employers
- Training of human resource staff and management
- Technical assistance with lactation room design, creative space solutions, and creating a supportive environment
- Resources for both employers and employees
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Assessment and Implementation Plan
Start with an initial assessment of how your worksite is currently supporting lactation accommodation, and identify areas for improvement. Develop an implementation plan to determine the next steps and identify who will lead.
Utilize the tools below to get started.
Adoption of a lactation accommodation policy is important for many reasons. A policy will help support sustainability and provide directives to both managers and employees. Communication of support for lactation accommodation is easier when it is in writing. And a written policy shows that your business is in compliance with both federal and state laws.
Check out the below resources to assist with writing or revising your lactation accommodation policy.
Changes to the workplace environment will help show support for lactation accommodation. Having an assigned lactation room is best practice, but not every business has the space for a designated room. Planning ahead for temporary spaces that employees can use to pump will help everyone with a smooth transition. A restroom is NEVER an appropriate place to ask someone to pump. Adding breastfeeding-friendly signage will let your employees and clients know you are supportive and ensure the space is prioritized for pumping employees.
See below resources and pictures for ideas on designing a lactation room.
Communication is key to the success of a lactation accommodation policy. Human resources, managers, supervisors and employees all need to be aware that there is a system to support breastfeeding mothers. A policy can be communicated in many different ways. Some examples include: during the hiring process, maternity leave, before the employee returns from leave, a letter to all supervisors and managers, during a training or meeting, bulletin boards and through worksite wellness programs.
Edcuation and Resources
Training managers and supervisors on the importance of lactation accommodation and how to handle requests is crucial.
Responsibility for accommodations relies on both the employer and the employee to work together to make sure everyone’s needs are met. Resources for both Human Resources and employees helps to bridge the gap and provide educational information and directives on responsibilities.
See below resources aimed at employees and employers.
Additional resources and information can be accessed through our partners at the San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition webpage Working and Breastfeeding Resources.