Providing a Place to Pump When Space is Limited

Since you more than likely have new mothers returning to work from maternity leave, chances are you already know you are required to provide them with a space for pumping.

According to Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”

In a perfect world, you would be able to designate a space with a locking door specifically for breastfeeding mamas—their own comfortable haven to pump in privacy without the fear of someone walking in on them.

In the real world though, you may be short on space and out of ideas. So how do you make sure you’re accommodating your employees while still respecting your limited space needs?

You get creative, that’s how!

The first thing to consider is how many employees are going to need use of this space. If it’s currently just one or two and they already have private offices of their own—it may be enough to provide them with “Do Not Disturb” signs to put on their office doors to maintain their privacy. If their offices have windows, you can also by installing privacy blinds.

For breastfeeding employees that do not have offices of their own, you will need to consider other options.

At a minimum, the space you provide just meet the following:

  • It should be comfortable for the mothers using it
  • It should have access to a power outlet (for plug-in pumps)
  • And, it should allow for privacy and be free from intrusion

With only one or two breastfeeding employees, you may be able convert a small storage room into a nursing room. However, please keep in mind that no one likes to feel like they are trapped in a storage closet! A little consideration to ambiance will go a long way. Make sure to relocate stored items to another area. Provide breastfeeding employees with a comfortable chair, a flat clean surface for their pump and personal items, and pleasant lighting. Also take into consideration the.

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