Breastfeeding & Lactation Accommodations 18:58, June 24, 2016

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Breastfeeding & Lactation Accommodations

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Mothers with infants make up a significant segment of the US workforce, and the number is increasing every year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 57% of all women with infants under a year old are working or looking for work. But when new mothers return to work, lack of information and support leads many to give up breastfeeding. While over three-quarters of all U.S. mothers breastfeed their babies soon after birth, the number drops to only 16% within six months.

Ironically, studies show that supportive workplace lactation programs are great for business. Companies with these programs enjoy lower health care costs, reduced absenteeism, increased retention, and higher productivity. For example, mothers of formula fed infants are 200% more likely to be absent for a day due to infant illness than mothers of breastfed infants. All told, for every dollar spent on lactation programs, companies can expect up to a three dollar return on investment.

Lactation support at work is more than a business matter—it’s also the law. Both federal and California law require employers to provide mothers with private space and break time to express breast milk. A company whose lactation accommodations don’t comply faces fines and PR headaches.

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