Restaurants and hotels

Restaurants are the second-largest private-sector employer in the United States,1 and hotels and other accommodations provide more than 1.4 million jobs in the United States.2 More than 50% of the people working in restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality jobs are women.3 See lactation break time and space success stories from restaurants and hotels.

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Lactation break time and space in restaurants and food service establishments

Employers in the food service industry have many options for flexible and shared lactation space. Flexible scheduling is also a unique option for many restaurants and food service establishments. Many restaurants are required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to 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. Restaurants and food service establishments can work with an employee who is breastfeeding to schedule lactation breaks during times outside of the rush period. If a lactation break is necessary during the rush, a manager or shift leader can fill in for the employee. Some businesses might allow the employee to go home to breastfeed in between busy times or during a double shift. 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. Food service establishments often use a manager’s office or storage areas as temporary and flexible lactation space. Portable divider screens create privacy in these shared or common areas. Lactation space must not be in public areas of the restaurant. When building or renovating for a new restaurant, businesses may construct a permanent, dedicated lactation room or a women’s lounge that can be used by employees and customers. Individuals using a women’s lounge may want privacy for pumping, so portable screens can be useful. 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 hotels and other accommodations

Employers in the hotel and accommodation (or hospitality) industry have many options for flexible lactation space. Many businesses are required by FLSA to provide non-exempt breastfeeding employees with reasonable break time and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom. 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. Hotels and others in the hospitality industry can work with an employee who is breastfeeding to schedule lactation breaks during times that are not busy. If a lactation break is necessary during the rush, a manager or shift leader can fill in for the employee. Many women use standard breaks and meal periods to pump or express milk. Supervisors should be aware of the need for lactation breaks if there is unscheduled overtime or extended duty hours.
  • Space. Hotels are in the business of providing space and often have an empty room that can be used by employees who are nursing mothers. Scheduling and communication between the employee and management are key to making this situation successful. If an empty guest room is not available, some hotels temporarily use a manager’s office or storage area for lactation space. Portable screens can provide privacy in a shared area. Employee locker rooms or changing areas can be partitioned for breastfeeding mothers. 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 Agriculture Economic Research Service. (2017). Market Segments.
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2018). The Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the United States.
  3. 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 restaurants and hotels

Lactation break time and space in a fast food restaurant

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: She's very supportive. She's actually excited that I am breastfeeding.
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Carl's Jr., a fast-food restaurant with very limited space in Sacramento, California, provides breastfeeding women with a small room to express milk at work.

Lactation break time and space in a bakery and café

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: I really appreciate everything that they've done and they've been really flexible.
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The Red Hen Bakery & Café in Vermont supports breastfeeding moms with flexible private space and creative scheduling, including coverage for nursing breaks.

Lactation break time and space in a hotel

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Hotels have many private spaces.
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The Indianapolis Hampton Inn supports breastfeeding moms with spaces to express milk, including vacant guest rooms, conference rooms, and the hospitality suite.

Space solutions for all industries

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Who'd have thought that we'd be talking about lactation in the fire service.
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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 small businesses

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Ursuline Singleton, Public Health Analyst, HHS Office on Women's Health
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Breastfeeding women in small businesses have many creative options for managing breastfeeding needs at work. Several small companies share their solutions.

How to support breastfeeding moms in large companies

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Barbara Ashby, UC Davis
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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.