Manufacturing, factories, and warehouses

Some types of manufacturing occupations, such as food processing1 and commercial baking,2 are expected to grow in the next 10 years. Jobs in warehouses, such as packers3 and machine operators,4 are also projected to grow in the future. In many types of manufacturing jobs and some warehouse jobs the majority of employees are women.5 View and share lactation break time and space success stories from factories and warehouses.

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Lactation break time and space in factories

Manufacturing companies use many creative solutions to support nursing mothers at work. Solutions address common challenges, such as environmental hazards, inflexible schedules for breaks, and limited space for milk expression. Worksites whose employees are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom for non-exempt breastfeeding employees. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers FLSA requirement can be seen on the FLSA minimum wage poster (PDF file, 147 KB) or notice that must be posted in worksites covered by FLSA.

  • Time. Many employees use regular break times and meal periods to pump or express milk. Hourly workers can clock out for lactation breaks if they take longer than standard break times. Many companies use floater staff to provide coverage when a worker must be away from her work station. Flexibility on the part of the employer and employee is necessary during times a mother is breastfeeding. Supervisors should be aware of the need for lactation breaks if there is unscheduled overtime or extended duty hours.
  • Space. If a permanent, dedicated lactation room is not available, space options include setting aside small storage areas or office space, or constructing small spaces in quieter areas of a plant. Partitions and other barriers can be used to create private single-user or multi-user spaces. An on-site health clinic might be an option for private milk expression space. A large plant may need multiple spaces in each building of the complex. This will help reduce the amount of travel time employees need during their pumping breaks. Lactation space must not be in a bathroom. Learn more about what employers need to know about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.

Lactation break time and space in warehouses

Warehouses may need to use creative solutions to support employees who are breastfeeding. Solutions can address common challenges, such as environmental, noise, or safety hazards, inflexible schedules for breaks, and limited space for milk expression. Worksites whose employees are covered by FLSA must provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom for non-exempt breastfeeding employees. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers FLSA requirement can be seen on the FLSA minimum wage poster (PDF file, 147 KB) or notice that must be posted in worksites covered by FLSA.

  • Time. Many employees use regular break times and meal periods to pump or express milk. Hourly workers can clock out for lactation breaks if they take longer than standard break times. Many companies use floater staff to provide coverage when a worker must be away from her work area. Flexibility on the part of both employer and employee is necessary when a mother is breastfeeding. Supervisors should be aware of the need for lactation breaks if there is unscheduled overtime or extended duty hours.
  • Space: Warehousing firms often have large open spaces that can accommodate a small lactation space by enclosing a corner or other area with partitions or screens. Space can be built using plywood shelving units or other materials available in the warehouse. A flexible screened area with portable room dividers can also be used to create space. In a warehouse with no private areas, space can be created using a pop-up tent or portable lactation station. Clear signage — in all languages used by employees — is important to ensure that coworkers do not intrude on the space. Lactation space must not be in a bathroom. Learn more about what employers need to know about the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law.

Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Food and Tobacco Processing Workers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  2. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Bakers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  3. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Hand Laborers and Material Movers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  4. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Material Moving Machine Operators. Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  5. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table 11: Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.

Video success stories in manufacturing

Lactation break time and space in a factory

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work. Shaw Industries, Dalton, Georgia.
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Shaw Industries, a large carpet manufacturing company in Georgia, supports nursing moms with private space and flexible schedules as needed.

Lactation break time and space in food manufacturing

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work. Ben and Jerry's, Burlington, Vermont.
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Ben & Jerry's supports breastfeeding moms at the corporate office, manufacturing plant, and scoop shops, as part of the family-friendly corporate environment.

Space solutions for all industries

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work. Space solutions for nursing mothers at work. When nursing mothers return to work from maternity leave, they need an area that is not a bathroom to express milk during their work period.
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Breastfeeding women in hourly jobs have many solutions for private space to express milk at work. Several companies showcase their creative options.

How to support breastfeeding moms in large companies

Supporting Nursing Moms at Work. How to support nursing women in large companies. Large companies across the country have found many solutions to support nursing women in the workplace.
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Breastfeeding women in large companies have many options for expressing milk at work. Several large companies give their solutions for how to make it work.