Why You Need a Breastfeeding Room in the Workspace, and How to Create One
Women who return to work after childbirth face a number of obstacles, including the need to breastfeed their babies or, at least, to pump milk so that their child can have access to fresh nourishment. In order to help them transition back from pregnancy to a regular work schedule, lawmakers have stepped in and demanded that employers provide a helping hand by creating a dedicated breastfeeding room in the workspace.
Why Are Employers Required to Provide Breastfeeding Facilities?
A breastfeeding room is more than a mere convenience for women who are returning to work after delivering their babies; it’s the law. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must create a separate room in which women can breastfeed or pump milk.
Various state laws also make provisions for breastfeeding. The goal is to make the workspace a more hospitable place for everyone, and smart employers should treat the guidelines as an opportunity rather than a burden.
For starters, they must allow women to take breastfeeding breaks for up to one year after they give birth. Not only that, but they must also provide mothers a separate space in which they can express milk.
It doesn’t matter how big or small the business is. The law applies to every workplace, with only one exception—companies with less than 50 employees if they can prove they would suffer “undue hardship” if made to comply.
Lactation Room Guidelines
Lactation room requirements for employers aren’t onerous, but the government does expect employers to follow a few basic standards for every lactation room at work. It cannot be a bathroom, but it need not be a permanent area, either. It must be private, clean, and close to the workspace. It must also be available whenever a woman needs to breastfeed.
In other words, you can’t repurpose a bathroom stall and call it a “breastfeeding room.” You can’t open up a broom closet and force women to pump milk in unsanitary conditions. You can’t locate the room a mile away, at another facility, and expect your employees to hike long distances every time they need to pump milk.
So, how can a business comply with federal requirements for lactation rooms? What do they need to make their employees’ lives easier and their businesses run smoother?
Finding the Best Lactation Room Designs
The simplest and best solution is to erect a breastfeeding room divider made of smoked, frosted, black, or laminated glass. By installing a partition, employers can skip the hassle. No need to renovate existing rooms. No need to construct new ones. The best part is that a glass partition offers privacy, cleanliness, and ease of access—all in one package.
Behind the partition, employers can include as many amenities as they want—sinks, mirrors, couches, pump outlets, refrigerators etc. With room dividers from Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, employers have even more options. They can install a lock on the door so women know they can breastfeed without worrying that others will be barging in. They can order a door with black opaque glass for maximum privacy. With us, businesses also can get a beautiful design, easy installation, and ADA-compliant handles and locks.
Want to find out how your business can use our high-quality glass room dividers to help empower women in the workforce? Take a look at our catalog to see what we have to offer.