The following information was provided by the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition.
Q: With staffing shortages right now, do we still need to provide lactation breaks for employees?
A: In short, yes, employers are still required by law (state and federal) to provide reasonable break time for employees to express (pump) milk while on the job. Employees will also need a clean space that is not a bathroom in which to express milk.
The good news for employers with staffing shortages is that lactation support programs lead to employee retention and an earlier return to work after the birth of a child.
In Connecticut, 75% of women with infants are participating in the labor market. Creating a lactation support program can be a competitive advantage for your organization in recruiting and retaining women.
Q: How can we further realize the benefits of employee lactation support? Does implementing an employee lactation accommodation policy help?
A: The best way to ensure that you are providing the legal accommodations to all employees, and realize the ROI lactation accommodations offer, is to have a company policy.
A good policy creates access for all employees, regardless of their position or their supervisor.
It will support employees across the organization in understanding their role in providing support and how to access the support should they need it. A policy will also alert employees of the support prior to them taking leave.
This increases the likelihood they will return after their child’s birth (retention) and may even allow them to return sooner.
A good policy will include specifics regarding the break time, whether it will be paid or unpaid, and the process for extended time and scheduling.
It will also specify how space will be allocated and scheduled. It will ensure the space is in proximity to employees’ work area and that the space may not be a bathroom.
It is also helpful to identify positions within the organization who are responsible for communicating the policy and ensuring it is enforced.
A sample policy and additional resources are available at the Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition's website.