Express Stop

A Program of the Breastfeeding Coalition of El Dorado County

This program is rooted in a 2002 law requiring workplaces to provide lactating mothers break time and a clean, private environment to express breast milk at work. The Breastfeeding Coalition of El Dorado County has a supply of hospital-grade electric breast pumps available to loan to requesting employers.

Employer Information About The Program: How It Helps You

Current statistics show that women with infants and toddlers are the fastest growing segment of the workforce. 50% of women who are employed before they become pregnant return to work by the time their baby is three months old. Many women are choosing to breastfeed their babies because they know it helps keep their babies healthy and helps them grow to their best potential. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women breastfeed until their children are at least one year of age.

Call (530) 333-1917, ext. 241 for more information.

When women breastfeed, they are more productive on the job:

  • They worry less about the baby
  • They miss less work due to illness for themselves or their baby
  • Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce absenteeism by 27%, reduce health-care costs by 36% and improve productivity because children are ill less often. Illnesses such as diarrhea, ear infections, and the common cold, are less frequent and less severe among infants who are breastfed.

Employer support of breastfeeding is rewarded in:

  • Improved employee morale and loyalty
  • Improved image as family-friendly
  • Improved recruiting for personnel
  • Improved retention of employees following childbirth

Hundreds of companies in the US, such as CIGNA, Eastman Kodak, the U.D. Department of Agriculture and Eli Lilly, have begun worksite breastfeeding support programs. Company returns on their program investment have been substantial.

Breastfeeding can mean greater profitability for employers:

  • Less employee turnover
  • Faster return from maternity leave
  • Less employee absenteeism
  • Reduced overtime or temporary worker costs
  • Lower utilization of employee healthcare benefits

Over just one year, Aetna estimated a savings of $1435 on medical claims and three days sick leave per breastfed baby.

Information for Working Moms

The California Lactation Accommodation Law went into effect January 1, 2002. It requires the following of employers:

Provide Break Time for Employees to Express Breast milk.

Employers shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee's infant child. (An employer is not required to provide unpaid break time if to do so would seriously disrupt operations.) If possible, the break time should coincide with the employee's paid break time. If not, the break time need not be paid.

How much time does an employee need to express breast milk?

Typically, a lactating woman would need to express breast milk about every 2-3 hours when she is away from her baby. Twenty to forty minutes is generally needed for each pump session. Women who double pump (pump both breasts at the same time), generally need less time for pumping than women who single pump (pump one breast at a time). Women need time to set up and clean equipment, collect, label and store milk. Some women prefer to work while pumping by reading or reviewing work related materials. If however, additional time is unpaid, consider allowing employees to arrive earlier or stay later than their normal work schedule to make up their time.

Provide the employee with the use of a room to express breast milk.

Employers shall make a reasonable effort to provide employees with the use of a room or other location for the employee to express milk. This space shall be private and in close proximity to the employee's work area. This space should not be a toilet stall.

Examples of workplace areas used for expressing breast milk:

  • a vacant office
  • a women's lounge area
  • a first aid room
  • a dressing room
  • a cubicle with a curtain (a last resort, if no other space is available)

A room can be made private by having a lock on the door, placing a message on the door that the room is in use, drawing blinds or curtains, covering curtain-less windows with paper if necessary, or setting up a portable partition.

If you have questions about this law or want more information, contact the Breastfeeding Coalition of El Dorado County at (530) 333-1917, ext. 241.