Do you have breastfeeding mothers who are working?
Do you have a policy that states you will provide a place for breastfeeding Moms to express milk for their babies? If you don’t, you are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act.
Are you willing to provide light-duty work for breastfeeding moms if necessary so that it does not interfere with her ability to produce milk?
A case in Alabama illustrates the importance of allowing new mothers to produce milk. In this case, a police officer was awarded $374,000 by the jury. They said that she should have been allowed an accommodation when her doctor stated that wearing her bullet-proof vest could cause a breast infection. The officer sued claiming under violations of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Family Medical Leave and she won.
What you need to know:
- Employers are required to provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the new mom to express milk.
- Companies are required to allow unlimited, unpaid breaks to express mild during work hours.
- You are required to provide the space and time away from work for a period of one year after the birth of the child.
- It is best practice to have a clear policy and follow it.
Many of the companies I work with are not aware this law exists. Including it in the employee handbook provides the communication to the employees and also provides for the development of a plan the employer intends to follow when the situation arises. Being aware of this law and taking it seriously reduces the risk to your company and makes for happier employees.