Both federal and state laws have outlined regulations regarding services for nursing mothers in the workplace. Today we examine the benefits offered by both governments:
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must allow working a mother to take breaks whenever necessary to express breast milk for one year following the birth of their child. In addition, the employer must also provide a private place for the mother to do so—not a bathroom.
The above requirements do not apply to companies with fewer than 50 employees if offering such amenities would cause the employer undue hardship or excessive strain on resources. In addition, employers are not required to pay workers for the aforementioned break time.
In addition, the state of Texas has created added incentives for employers to support the needs of employees who are nursing moms. Under the Texas Mother Friendly Worksite Initiative, companies meeting certain requirements can apply to be officially designated as “mother-friendly.” To be granted this distinction, a company must offer:
- Flexibility in working schedules—to include break time for expressing milk
- A private, non-intrusive location for mothers to pump breast milk
- Access to a clean water source to wash hands and breast-pumping equipment
- Access to a clean storage space for breast milk
In addition, many employers taking part in this program offer additional benefits for nursing moms, such as lactation consultants and other educational services.
Since the program’s inception, researchers have found that companies with the mother-friendly designation tend to have happier, more loyal and more productive employees. Companies also experience higher retention and lower health care costs.