The Louisiana Workplace Breastfeeding Support Program:
- Seeks to inform employers in Louisiana about the federal Nursing Mother’s law that supports breastfeeding employees.
- Assists employers in complying with the law by providing them with information and tools to establish workplace lactation programs.
- Designates businesses as Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplaces and Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Champions.
We can provide examples of how other similar businesses have complied with the law in terms of a lactation space and policy on break time. We can also provide guidance on how to inform employees and easily evaluate a lactation program.
Please contact us with questions or concerns: email@example.com
The Federal Nursing Mother’s law
Section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act requires all employers to provide:
- Reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk, and
- A place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.
If an employer has less than 50 employees, he can attempt to claim that implementing these two supports would be an undue hardship because of the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the business. Undue hardship is not available for employers that employ less than 50 employees in more than one location.
What if an employee is not covered by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law?
The Break Time for Nursing Mothers provision is a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The law applies to employees covered by the FLSA’s overtime provisions, also known as “non-exempt” employees. Employees not covered by that law (overtime-exempt employees) still need break time and adequate space. Employees not covered by the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law have rights to changes at work under federal and state anti-discrimination law. They are entitled to the same sorts of accommodations given to other employees. Breastfeeding employees must be given at least the same flexibility that other employees have to meet their health needs. If other employees are allowed to take breaks, lactating employees should be allowed to as well. For example, if some employees are allowed smoke breaks, breastfeeding employees should be allowed pumping breaks. Similarly, laws that allow employees’ temporary reassignments due to health conditions also applies to breastfeeding employees, making them eligible for temporary reassignment, too.
How does COVID-19 change my legal obligations to provide breastfeeding accommodations?
Federal and state anti-discrimination laws and the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law remain in effect, and additional steps may be necessary to follow the law during the pandemic. To meet the legal requirement to provide a functional space for expressing milk, employers must provide safe spaces for milk expression and storage. During the coronavirus crisis, depending on the workplace, this may mean employers need to offer a space where risk of exposure is less than in the regularly-provided pumping location. It may also mean giving employees more time to travel to the new pumping location or milk storage area with additional time and supplies to disinfect the space. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law provides a limited exemption for employers that have less than 50 employees. The exemption may apply if providing break time or space would cause an “undue hardship.” Until they are granted an exemption from the Department of Labor, employers should assume they must follow the law.
Supporting lactation is good for business!
Employers who provide a supportive environment to help women continue breastfeeding/pumping after childbirth enjoy many proven benefits that directly affect the bottom line. These can include:
- Lower health care costs
- Lower employee turnover rates among breastfeeding parents
- Lower absenteeism rates, including fewer sick days, among breastfeeding parents
- Higher employee productivity among breastfeeding parents
- Higher morale and greater loyalty
- Improved ability to attract and retain valuable employees
- Family-friendly image in the community
Lactation Accommodations Statewide Work Group
Started in 2018, the LASWG is hosted by the Louisiana Office of Public Health’s Bureau of Family Health and the LA Breastfeeding Coalition, to guide the work of the Louisiana Workplace Breastfeeding Support Program. The work group meets every every 3 months, by phone and online (video conference). The work group is made up of employers and employees, so that we can make sure that our work is truly meeting the needs of Louisiana working women and their employers.
Work Group Objectives:
- Identify levers and opportunities to influence workplace culture statewide to improve support for employees who choose to breastfeed
- Engage state, local and systems level employer “influencers” to identify outreach opportunities and establish partnership
- Include employer and employee perspectives
- Support dissemination and spread of successes and best practices
If you are an employer (of any type!) or a mom who is working and breastfeeding, please consider adding your perspective to our work group – we are always excited about new views that can help inform program goals and activities! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have You Experienced Discrimination?
Please email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your experience! This helps us to document discrimination/violations internally. If it is wanted, we are also happy to support moms in taking action, such as reaching out to the employer and assisting them in complying with the law.
If you would like to file a complaint with the Department of Labor, click here.