Good news for breastfeeding moms back in the workplace. The government is cracking down on employers who don't accommodate women who need to take time during the day to express milk. So far, 23 companies have received citations at certain locations, including McDonald's and Starbucks.
These new requirements are part of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in March 2010. The rules haven't been finalized yet, but the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour division has shed some insight, stating: "[Employers are required to provide] reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child's birth ... [as well as] a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public."
A) Pretty sad that this doesn't already exist, and B) not gonna lie -- kinda nervous to pump once I return from maternity leave.
I'm not nervous for the act of pumping -- that seems fairly straightforward. I'm nervous for other things: How much is it going to cut into my work? Will I feel "weird" doing something so intimate at my place of business? What if -- God forbid -- I forget my breast pump at home or, worse, my milk at work? And how heavy is this dang Pump in Style that I keep hearing about? Is it light enough to tote on a crowded subway?
I know I'll figure all this out, and thankfully, I work for a place that's pretty accommodating with the whole "mom" thing, but what about all the poor women who aren't as fortunate? Were they seriously scolded, or even penalized, for providing their child with nourishment? What, with our crappy maternity leave, did they honestly not have a place to pump? That's a new low, United States.
Hopefully, these new regulations will make women feel more comfortable -- and less stressed out -- about pumping on the job. Now if we could only do something about the maternity leave.
Do you pump or breastfeed at work?
Image via acme/Flickr