Employers latch on to workplace breast-feedingNews added by Benefits Pro on August 7, 2014
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By Dan Cook

Employers that make the effort to create a work environment friendly to breast-feeding female employees may well be handsomely rewarded.

That’s the word from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With 75 percent of women in the United States choosing to breast-feed their children, employers are seeing a rise in the number of women who need accommodations at work to support their breast feeding.

HHS’s website for women’s health offers a trove of options for employers seeking to create a comfortable setting where women can express their milk during working hours.

“When [breast-feeding mothers] return to work after their babies are born, time and space to express their milk during the work period help them continue to give their best to their work and their baby,” the website says. “These family-friendly benefits also bring your business a 3:1 return on investment through lower health care costs, lower employee absenteeism rates (since babies are healthier), lower turnover rates, and higher employee productivity and loyalty.”

HHS’s portal for such information, “Supporting Nursing Moms at Work,” has customized solutions for employers in 20 industries. Case studies help bring the “toolkit” solutions to life. FAQs also are addressed.

The site was developed to help guide human resources professionals through the process of creating a breast-feeding-friendly workplace. It was unveiled in June at the Society for Human Resource Management’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Florida.

SHRM noted in a recent article that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “requires employers to provide two types of accommodations for nursing employees: A reasonable break time to express breast milk for one year after a child's birth and a place to express breast milk, other than a bathroom, that’s shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public.”

SHRM touted the website to mark World Breastfeeding Week, held Aug. 1-7, which is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com
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