Federal Breast-Feeding Law Creates Challenges for Businesses
Posted Jan 6, 2012 3:35 PM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky
A federal law that requires businesses to provide private space and adequate break time for nursing mothers to pump breast milk is proving difficult for some small businesses tight on space and money.
Although the legislation, an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, has been in place for nearly two years, recent government crackdowns have led to the citation of 23 companies, the Huffington Post reports.
Under the law, employers must create a disturbance-free space that is inaccessible to other employees, and, in most cases, enable nursing mothers to refrigerate the expressed milk. Although there is an undue hardship loophole for businesses with fewer than 50 employees, many businesses find it difficult to create a comfortable environment for mothers to pump and breastfeed around other employees, according to the Huffington Post.
"The most important thing is that an employer create a comfortable, positive and encouraging environment for nursing mothers even if you can't provide an adequate space," Danielle Rigg, co-founder of the Best for Babes Foundation, told the Huffington Post. "Employers stand to win big from employees breastfeeding. Making it a top priority promotes less absenteeism, fewer healthcare costs and happier moms who are employees," she added.