Beyond The Basics
Once your program is in place, there are a lot of ways to add value for your employees.
Every mother-friendly worksite will be a little different, depending on the size of the employer, the needs of the workforce, and the nature of the worksite. Some employers provide a basic policy, while others have found their program to be so successful that they continue to add program components to further support employees and their families. Employers who provide these added offerings may also be eligible to earn the prestigious Silver and Gold Mother-Friendly designations.
While these added components are not required, businesses that have implemented more than the basics report improved retention, reduced absenteeism, increased loyalty, and reduced health-care expenses.
Some examples of how companies can offer extras beyond the basic Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation criteria include:
- Options for working mothers to support each other (e.g., parenting groups, online communities)
- Information and education for supervisors and co-workers
- Incentivizing breastfeeding as part of the worksite wellness program
- Access to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant services
- Extending program offerings to male employees and their partners
- Part-time transitioning back to work
- Job sharing
- Bring-baby-to-work policies
- On-site child care
- Paid parental leave
- Paid lactation breaks
- Concierge services
- Breastfeeding and/or parenting classes
- "Back-to-work" consultations
- Informational materials and videos
- Referrals to community classes and lactation experts
- Dedicated lactation room(s)
- Additional lactation room amenities, such as a footrest, attractive lighting and decor, a radio, etc.
- Phone and/or computer terminal with Internet access to allow the option to work while pumping instead of using break time
- Dedicated hospital-grade multi-user breast pump
- Dedicated refrigerator
- Onsite lockers where mothers may store pumping supplies
- Electronic scheduling system where mothers may reserve the lactation room
Breastfeeding mothers have half as many one-day absences from work to care for a sick child compared to mothers of formula-fed infants.1
Freescale's program has grown to include prenatal kits, maternity and paternity leave, flexible scheduling, breast pump reimbursement, and onsite childcare.
Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the business's maternity and lactation program.2
I wish breastfeeding in the workplace was more widely supported and it is sad that it is not the norm!