Breastfeeding Information for Employers

Federal law requires employers to provide reasonable, unpaid break time and a private, non-bathroom place for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. Employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the requirement if it would cause “undue hardship.”

Lactation support requires few resources. Companies large and small enjoy the biggest savings when they provide: privacy to express milk, flexible breaks, education and support. The Business Case for Breastfeeding toolkit developed by the US Maternal and Child Health Bureau outlines the benefits of supporting breastfeeding employees including:

  • Breastfeeding employees miss work less often;
  • Breastfeeding lowers healthcare costs;
  • Investing in a work site lactation program can yield substantial dividends to the company in the form of lower turnover rates, additional health care savings, and higher productivity and loyalty;
  • Supporting breastfeeding employees promotes positive public relations.

What you should do

  • Allow for flexible work schedules to allow breastfeeding employees time to breastfeed their babies or pump breast milk during the workday;
  • Provide a clean, private and safe space other than a toilet stall where women can express or pump breast milk and a sink near the pumping space where women can clean pumping equipment;
  • Develop and distribute a written policy outlining organizational support for breastfeeding employees;
  • Provide information on breastfeeding benefits to all employees;
  • Sponsor the services of a lactation consultant for breastfeeding employees;
  • Provide pumping equipment for breastfeeding employees to use while at work.