As the Department of Labor ramps up efforts to improve awareness of the new Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, employers may want to take this time — as August is National Breastfeeding Month — to consider their own approach to breastfeeding at work.
While much of the news about breastfeeding at work has been around new laws and compliance obligations, breastfeeding has also been something of a diversity and inclusion focus for employers, especially as women in particular leave the workforce in droves partly due to childcare obligations.
One study commissioned by a breastfeeding equipment company in 2018 found that three-quarters of responding mothers planned to breastfeed after returning to work, but almost half were worried that doing so would impact their career growth, and 47% said breast pumping at work made them consider a career change.
One executive spoke to HR Dive in 2021 about how a change in company culture may be needed to empower breastfeeding parents and to stop the “mass exodus” of caregivers from the workforce, only made worse by the pandemic.
“If the equity of your [female] employees is important to you as an organization, supporting your breastfeeding workers is absolutely a means to achieving that goal,” that exec said.
Below, we’ve gathered stories about recent compliance changes regarding breastfeeding at work — as well as stories on how employers can change their cultures to make breastfeeding more possible for their employees.