Tuesday, June 24, 2014

HHS Launches Solutions for Nursing Moms at Work

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH), announced the launch of a new national online searchable resource:  Supporting Nursing Moms at Work:  Employer Solutions.  The new resource is designed to assist businesses with implementing Section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act. This section amends Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and requires employers of hourly workers to provide private space that is not a bathroom and reasonable time for employees who are breastfeeding to express their milk while they are at work.  The resource includes photos and stories of 200 businesses in 29 U.S. states, representing 22 industry sectors.

The Colorado Breastfeeding Coalition (COBFC), in partnership with CDPHE, worked with employers from around the state to provide examples and stories for the online resource. Supporting the needs of breastfeeding mothers at work benefits companies by lowering absenteeism, turnover rates, and healthcare costs. Employers see an increase in productivity and loyalty among employees.

Today, more than 75 percent of all new mothers begin breastfeeding, and many of them do want to continue when they return to work. However, businesses need solutions, especially in more challenging worksite settings such as restaurants, retail stores, and manufacturing plants. This resource provides practical solutions from their peers - businesses across the country that have found the solutions to make this work.”
 
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nationally, more than three out of every four women breastfeed their baby after it is born. Once they return to work, many women do not continue if they are not provided accommodations to express milk during the work period. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a professional association for 250,000 human resource directors, reports that 34% of employers currently provide designated lactation rooms for nursing women working in their company. Others provide more flexible options such as a manager’s office or a temporary private structure.

CDPHE implemented its own Lactation in the Workplace policy in 2007 and has worked with the COBFC to provide education and resources to reach communities with historically low breastfeeding rates. The COBFC has a history of working to educate employers about creating a friendlier work environment for nursing mothers.
  

The new online resource launched at the SHRM Conference in Orlando on June 22, 2014.  For more information, go to www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding-at-work.

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