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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

Lactation legislation for the workplace


Breastfeeding is not only a popular choice by new mothers, but a healthy one as well for their babies. Returning to the workplace after having a baby is already difficult emotionally for the new mother, but another big issue also comes into play - can she continue to successfully breastfeed upon returning to work?

If nursing has already been decided upon, it is recommended that expectant employees discuss their plans for pumping at the office prior to her maternity leave. The main requirement is a private place with a free and accessible electrical outlet. If the employee has her own office, a door lock would also be recommended. If she works in a cubicle or shared office, it is necessary to located another office or room with the same amenities.

In its new location, 1402 W. State Street (Purdue West plaza), Purdue WorkLife Programs offers a lactation room which is open to all faculty and staff.

All that is required is for the mother to call in advance to work out a schedule to reserve the room. However, this may not be convenient or workable for everyone.

To date, WorkLife Programs has worked together with Employee Relations to handle each situation on a case-by-case basis. In the event that she cannot find an area within her office or building, she and/or her supervisor should consult the building deputy for possible options. If this proves unsuccessful, the next step would be to contact the employee�s Employee Relations representative or Purdue WorkLife Programs to explore other possible options in the nearby vicinity.

This rather delicate issue is far from uncommon, yet the need for such accommodations is sporadic and often leaves supervisors searching for answers.

However, Chapter 6, Section 1 of (Indiana Code) IC 16-35-6 states: �Notwithstanding any other law, a woman may breastfeed her child anywhere the woman has a right to be.� The workplace is no exception; therefore supervisors and employers are urged to get a better understanding of how they can better facilitate this practice for nursing mothers, to make the process easier for all concerned.

- Branna Smith
WorkLife Programs

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.