Is your employee handbook up to date regarding lactation policy? Do you have a private, clean and inviting lactation room?
Federally, section 4207 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Health Care Reform), amended the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or federal wage and hour law. The amendment requires employers to provide reasonable break time and a private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday, for one year after the child's birth. The new requirements became effective when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. Download the text of Section 4207 only.
Where there may be a conflict between federal and state law on a particular issue, the federal amendment specifically provides tht the federal law does not preempt a state law providing greater protections. For a summary of current state breastfeeding regulations, please visit: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=14389.
Lactation Navigation can review and evaluate your current lactation policies in
light of new and pending legislation. Click here for a 5-minute quiz to
determine if your organization is in compliance with the new federal legislation.
US Breastfeeding Committee Chair, Joan Younger Meek, MD, MS, RD, IBCLC, applauds the legislation's recognition of breastfeeding as a major preventive health care strategy. "Mothers, babies, and employers all win with breastfeeding support," says Dr. Meek. "Research clearly demonstrates the value of breastfeeding for the health of women and children, and medical experts agree with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in recommending exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for the first year of life and beyond. But returning to work can be a major hurdle for new mothers struggling to balance working and breastfeeding without the simple support measures this law ensures."
Dr. Meek says it takes little for a company to provide lactation support. Basic needs include a clean place to express milk in privacy and break time to express milk approximately every 3 hours during the work period. A model law in Oregon defines reasonable time for milk expression as 30 minutes for every four hours worked; a good match between natural breastfeeding cycles and the rhythms of the workday. Meek adds that a growing number of companies across the United States offer worksite lactation programs that also include access to information and professional support from a lactation consultant or other health experts.
Call us today to discuss lactation arrangements in your workplace! (650) 868-5318