Enacted into law as part of 2010’s health care reform initiative, employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.
In an effort to help employers comply with the law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is developing an online searchable database to showcase creative solutions for supporting employees who are nursing their babies, with a special emphasis on employers of hourly workers and challenging work environments. The resource will be available in Fall 2012. In the past, when HHS was developing its guidance on “break time,” HHS reached out to SHRM to help understand the successes and challenges of employers implementing lactation programs. SHRM continues to collaborate with the agency on efforts to identify workable solutions in the workplace.
To help populate the web-based resource, OWH will be gathering success stories from businesses of all industry types over the next few weeks. They hope to identify workplaces willing to share their solutions for both the time and space requirements of the Federal nursing breaks law. To share your solutions, visit the online submission site at www.everymother.org/workplace. All information will be kept confidential and no identifying information will be made public without permission from the employer.
In addition, OWH has a free resource for business managers and human resource staff, The Business Case for Breastfeeding, offering tools to help employers support breastfeeding employees in the workplace. As a part of the project, more than 3,000 individuals have been trained across the country to assist businesses with how to implement lactation support services.
Cathy Carothers, Co-Director, Every Mother, Inc. who is helping to design the workplace breastfeeding database was interviewed on the March 1st episode of SHRM’s Focus on HR. Information on the law’s requirements are available from U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division webpage on Break Time for Nursing Mothers.