Why accommodating nursing mothers is the right thing to do

In spite of the intensive coverage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law last spring, many employers have overlooked a section that benefits breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. The federal law requires employers to provide mothers with "reasonable break time" and a private, non-bathroom location to express breastmilk during the workday (up until the child's first birthday).

Unfortunately, the lack of awareness is shared by employees. In a recent poll commissioned by Workplace Options, 57% of workers admitted to not knowing about the new law. Yet, 63% of respondents agreed that if an employer offered lactation support, they'd be more willing to work for that employer. This is especially true for hourly employees.

The takeaway, obviously, is to provide adequate workplace accommodations for breastfeeding moms.

"Employers must recognize what tools new mothers need to achieve work-life balance," said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. "New legislation is in place for nursing mothers in the workplace, but employers still need to find ways to support these employees in the office."

Is your workplace breastfeeding-friendly? Display a poster to let nursing mothers and other employees know you provide accommodations for breastfeeding.

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