Oregon Wage and Hour Rules require rest periods for the expression of breast milk
Women with infants and children below age three are the fastest growing segment of today's labor force. At least 58% of women who are employed when they become pregnant return to the labor force by the time their child is three months old.
Women who wish to continue breastfeeding after returning to work have relatively few and simple needs; availability of dependable efficient breast pumps; a convenient, safe, private and comfortable location at the worksite; and the opportunity to pump two or three times during the work day.
Employers Benefit When They Support Breastfeeding
Implementing workplace lactation programs creates positive results, including lower absenteeism, high productivity, high company loyalty, high employee morale, and lower health care costs. Because an ill child is a frequent cause of absenteeism among employed mothers, worksite programs that aim to improve children's health may also bring about a reduction in maternal absenteeism. Mothers with formula-fed children missed work three times more often because their children were ill compared to mothers who breastfed their children.
Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer Project
The Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer Project was implemented as part of our effort to create a community that supports breastfeeding. We are encouraging all employers to support nursing mothers when they return to work so they can breastfeed for at least one year, as recommended by health experts.
In 2005, over 87% of Oregon women giving birth initiated breastfeeding in the hospital setting. Breastfeeding rates drop significantly in the first two to four weeks after discharge and continue to drop thereafter.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that:
"Arrangements be made to provide expressed breast milk if mother and child must be separated during the first year."
"Employers be encouraged to provide appropriate facilities and adequate time in the workplace for breast-pumping."
Goals of the Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer Project
- Increase the number of working women who breastfeed exclusively for six months.
- Increase the number of Oregon employers that meet the criteria of the Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer Project.
- Setting an example for other employers: The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) provides support for working mothers who are breastfeeding. OHA has agency-wide breastfeeding friendly policies to support nursing mothers and to set an example for other employers. In 1999, a governor's executive order required accommodation by state agencies for employee breastfeeding.
- Providing a free employer packet to help other Oregon employers become Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employers.
- Providing recognition: A Certificate of Recognition is provided to all employers who submit the application documenting that they meet the criteria to be a Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer.
Click here for the current list of Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employers in Oregon.
***** ATTENTION EMPLOYERS *****
You may already be eligible! Please review the application form, and if you currently meet the criteria, submit your packet to recieve your certificate of recognition today.
A Federal Guidance Packet is also available from the US Office of Personnel Management.
photo courtesy of USBC