From Remote Work to Reopening: Breastfeeding Moms Matter
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
There are no shortcuts in making sure employees are safe, healthy, and feel a sense of belonging — especially in the shift from remote to reopening workplaces.
Now that all 50 states have begun to reopen, businesses rushing forward must not forget about the needs of breastfeeding moms and new parents.
Yes, the dynamics of a post-pandemic workplace can be complicated and will take some time to sort out. However, there are very real consequences for reopening businesses without complying with lactation laws and sanitary standards for mother’s rooms.
Preparing Mother’s Rooms
Companies may have placed cafeterias, meditation rooms, shuttle transports, and gyms on hiatus. However, lactation rooms are in a different category. The Federal Fair Labor and Standards Act says employers must provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk" if they have more than 50 employees.
“Simply put, businesses that fail to comply will be at risk of being fined,” said Healthy Horizons COO Cassi Janakos. “Federal and state laws set the standards that companies must meet on break times and mother’s rooms for employees who pump breast milk. Those spaces and policies have to be in place the day the business reopens, or a company will be considered in violation.”
But that’s not all. Employers now have the important responsibility for safeguarding employees against the spread of COVID-19.
“In reopening work sites, employers must protect nursing moms as part of the employee population,” added Janakos. “Cleaning and disinfecting mother’s rooms and the equipment in them should be carried out according to CDC and OSHA guidelines, using EPA-approved products.”
Keeping mothers who pump safe and healthy at work demonstrates the employer’s commitment to workforce wellness and inclusion.
To learn more about preparing mother’s rooms as part of an overall business reopening strategy, please contact Healthy Horizons at Services@hh-bc.com or (650) 579-2726.