RTW after childbirth - how much accommodation?

An employee returned to work in December and has asked to be accommodated for (I apologize if this term offends anyone but it's real life!) pumping breast milk twice a day. We have done so and set aside a conference room for her to use that meets her needs.

I've searched these forums and this website to find some additional info regarding these accommodation requirements, but did not find anything. In the case of this kind of accommodation, must you allow paid work time for this activity? Or could you reasonably ask and expect that the employee would perhaps shorten her one-hour lunch period or come in a little early or stay a little later to ensure a full work day?

She is an exempt employee, so I have been advising her manager to focus on performance and productivity and not counting hours, and her manager is doing so. But I would like to find some additional info regarding legal requirements for accommodating this activity and wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction.

Thanks all!


  • 7 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Most info I've come across refers to providing a room other than a toilet stall for mothers to nurse and/or pump, but you're already doing that. There is a website that has some info on laws and legislation on breastfeeding, they may have something on pumping. [url]www.lalecheleague.org[/url].
  • Thanks for the website. Primarily the site seems to focus on breastfeeding, not pumping, but it at least gives me a start!
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 01-14-04 AT 04:13PM (CST)[/font][br][br]
    Exempt ee you should not be counting hours worked but if ee has a set break and lunch schedule that should be the time they "pump" it may take additional time. Stick with performance issues.
    For non-exempt their are no regs on this usually it is on ee's time such as breaks & lunch.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 01-08-04 AT 04:41PM (CST)[/font][br][br]I've been there and done that. While I don't think that you have any legal obligation to accommodate, it's great that you are. I know I really appreciated my boss' understanding when I was pumping. I pumped in my office with the door shut. I don't know if this is an option for your employee. If so, I have to say I was able to get work done while pumping. At first I just made or returned phone calls but after a while, I was even able to type one-handed (don't even ask!). And even if she has to be away from her office (in the conference room) she still may be able to do some work tasks, even if it is proofreading letters, checking reports, etc. while pumping. I found that I spent less time pumping than some of my coworkers who took multiple smoke breaks throughout the day. Since she is an exempt employee, I would not advise asking her to come in early/stay late as she is paid for the work she does, not the time it takes to do it. Also, if you did request that, she may end up having to add another pumping session to compensate for being away from her baby for a longer time! I agree if there are performance problems they should definitely be addressed. If she were non-exempt, I don't think she necessary needs to be paid for this time unless she is doing some type of work while pumping.
  • Hi Juju,
    Thanks for your information and that's the same direction I've encouraged the manager to take - focus on performance. Thanks for your thoughts.
  • Sorry - I just got over to this forum. Some states have regs requiring lactation accommodation - CA does. I also would not require her to take the time unpaid or add time to her day. Sometimes (and I know from experience) when you gotta pump you gotta pump and cannot always do it around a lunch or break schedule.
  • I guess I would ask how much time it takes her to pump, vs. what other employee's spend on smoke breaks.

    That has always been a sore spot in or org. Exempt EE's who smoke take updwards to one break an hour for a cigarette, at least 10 minutes long.

    Add those wasted minutes up after a day/week/month/year. She probably isn't "using" anymore company time then the smokers.

    I work at a hospital and we have a breast pump room. It's seen as any other break that anyone else takes.

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