Federal legislation supports breastfeeding!
In 2010, Congress passed new federal health reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law.
Section 4207 of the law requires all employers 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, and
- A place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.
However, if an employer has less than 50 employees, he can attempt to claim that implementing these two supports would be undue hardship because of the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the business. Undue hardship is not available for employers that employ less than 50 employees in more than one location.
Why is workplace support for breastfeeding/pumping needed?
- Nearly 60% of all women are employed in the work force in the United States
- Women actually comprise almost half (~47%) of the whole U.S. labor force
- Women with children are the fastest growing segment of the work force & almost 60% of women with children under the age of 3 work full-time
- Most women go back to work 6-12 weeks after they give birth, but it’s recommended that babies are breastfed or given breastmilk for at least 6 months
- Therefore, workplace support programs are essential to help mothers continue to breastfeed/pump breastmilk for their babies after they return to work.
Supporting lactation is good for business:
Employers who provide a supportive environment to help women continue breastfeeding/pumping after childbirth enjoy many proven benefits that directly affect the bottom line. These can include:
- Lower health care costs
- Lower employee turnover rates among breastfeeding parents
- Lower absenteeism rates among breastfeeding parents
- Higher employee productivity and morale
- Positive public relations in the community as “Mother-Friendly”