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September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03

Penn Supports Nursing Mothers

Giving birth to a child can be one of the most rewarding times in your life. But if you’re breastfeeding, how do you handle your lactation needs when you’re back on the job? Well don’t worry—Penn’s Nursing Mothers Program can make it easier for you.

You’ll have access to private lactation areas as well as flexible break times so you can manage your needs. It’s all part of Penn’s commitment to supporting your roles as both a mother and a working professional.

Visit the Human Resources website at www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursing.aspx for complete details on the Nursing Mothers Program. You can learn about lactation areas on campus and how they can be arranged in your work area, as well as how to set up break times. You’ll also find a variety of resources to support your nursing needs, like tips on how to return to work when you’re breastfeeding and nursing mother support groups. Questions? Contact Human Resources at (215) 898-0380 or qowl@hr.upenn.edu

­—Division of Human Resources

Nursing Mothers Program

Policy No: 415         
Effective Date: 9/7/2011

Penn is committed to maintaining a family-friendly workplace and supporting the health and well-being of our faculty and staff. Research shows that nursing mothers feel supported when they have the resources to continue breastfeeding after returning to work. Breastfed babies benefit from their mother’s immunities and may even stay healthier than babies on formula. With these goals in mind, the Penn Nursing Mothers Program was introduced to provide nursing mothers with space and time for managing lactation responsibilities at work.

The following guidelines also comply with the mandates of the Lactation Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as part of the Health Care Reform Act.

415.1 Eligibility

All full- and part-time faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the Nursing Mothers Program.

415.2 Lactation Areas

Schools and centers are expected to provide their faculty and staff members with space for managing lactation responsibilities if an appropriate personal office space is not available. A lactation area need not be permanent or on the immediate premises, but it must be a private space that is:

• not a bathroom

• shielded from view

• free from intrusion by co-workers and/or the public, with a door that locks from the inside

• within a 10-minute walk from the nursing mother’s assigned work area, preferably without having to go outdoors

• available close to the times when the nursing mother is likely to need the space

Lactation areas should also be equipped with the following:

• a comfortable chair (preferably upholstered with arms and back support)

• a table next to the chair (which should be at least 24” x 24” to accommodate a standard breast pump)

• an electric outlet near the chair and table

• a light that’s controllable from inside the room

• a label or door sign that indicates the space is in use

• a trash can

• a separation wall, temporary separator, or door that can be used for privacy if the space is being used by more than one nursing mother simultaneously.

Schools and centers:

Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingspace_setup.pdf for more tips and guidelines on setting up lactation areas.

Nursing Mothers:

Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingspace_identifying.pdf for a list of established school/center guidelines for identifying lactation areas.

Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingspace_existing.pdf for a list of school/center areas dedicated to this purpose and contact information to reserve space.

You can also contact the following resources to help identify lactation areas:

• Your school/center’s Human Resources representative or central space management group

• Diane Spatz, associate professor at Penn’s School of Nursing: Dr. Spatz is a national expert on lactation and has extensive experience in helping departments set up lactation areas. You can contact her at spatz@nursing.upenn.edu or (215) 898-8100.

415.3 Break Times

Paid break times are allowed for lactation responsibilities needed by the mother. When possible, breaks should be scheduled during normal break and meal times and/or when workflow allows. Typically, a nursing mother needs to take a 25- to 40-minute break every three to four hours, including time to get to and from the lactation area. 

Supervisors should keep in mind that the frequency and duration of breaks vary from mother to mother depending on their physical needs. There may be occasions when a nursing mother will need to handle lactation responsibilities at times that aren’t optimally convenient for the office. Supervisors are responsible for creating a supportive environment for nursing mothers so they can adequately manage their lactation responsibilities. 

415.4 Preparing to Return to Work

Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingmothers_plandoc.pdf for a Nursing Mother’s Plan Document to complete as soon as possible before returning to work. This document will outline the plan you will follow when back to work. Human Resources is collecting this information from school and center Human Resources representatives to maintain oversight of the campus needs for lactation space. Additionally, this document provides a plan for staff members to follow when stepping away from work (closing a private office door) or from the workplace (using a central lactation space). It will help you and others affected by your absence from the workplace or work tasks to manage these absences.  

Visit www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingmothers_returningtips.pdf for helpful tips for preparing to return to work and www.hr.upenn.edu/quality/worklife/nursingmothers_community.pdf for community resources to turn to for additional assistance.

415.5 More Information

The Nursing Mothers Program is administered by the Human Resources Quality of Worklife office. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Quality of Worklife at (215) 898-0380 or qowl@hr.upenn.edu

Applicability: All full- and part-time faculty and staff (during the first year after you’ve delivered a baby).

Almanac - September 13, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03