Retail and personal services

More than 15 million jobs in retail sales will be available in the United States in the next decade. Personal services, such as companion caregiving, are projected to be among the fastest growing industries.1 About 50% of employees working in retail and more than 75% of employees providing personal care, such as hairdressing, home health care, or child care, are women.2 View and share lactation break time and space video success stories in retail and personal service worksites.

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Lactation break time and space in retail stores

With limited space and evening and weekend hours, retail employers may need to be creative to find lactation break time and space for their employees. Flexible scheduling around busy periods may be an option for retail locations. Many stores 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. This 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. Retail stores can work with an employee who is breastfeeding to schedule lactation breaks during times outside of the rush period. Many workers use regular break times and meal periods to pump or express milk. Workers can clock out for lactation breaks if they take longer than standard break times. While not possible in every type of store, some small businesses allow mothers to bring babies to work with them for feeding. 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. Retail stores with dressing rooms may be able to use one dressing room as a private lactation area. Other types of retail stores, such as grocery stores, could use a manager’s office or storage areas as temporary and flexible lactation space. In a larger storage area or back room, divider screens create privacy. Employees who work in a mall area may be able to use a lactation room for all mall visitors and employees. 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 personal service worksites

Space available for lactation in personal service occupations, such as hairdressing and child care, can vary widely. Evening and weekend hours in some personal service jobs may require flexible scheduling for breaks to express milk or pump. Many employers with hourly employees are required by FLSA to provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space that is not a bathroom for 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 workers use regular break times and meal periods to pump or express milk. Workers can clock out for lactation breaks if pumping takes longer than standard breaks. Employees with scheduled clients can schedule lactation breaks during the shift as necessary. If employees cannot leave the people they’re responsible for, such as small children or elderly people with severe memory loss, the supervisor may have to fill in or find another employee to cover. Supervisors should be aware of the need for lactation breaks if there is unscheduled overtime or extended duty hours.
  • Space. Personal service workers who work in a private home may have to negotiate acceptable lactation space with the homeowner. For some workers, the only option for private lactation space might be in a personal vehicle. Child care workers may have access to a mothers' area or room in the nursery section of the child care facility. Salon workers or estheticians may be able to use an empty treatment room or a storage area with dividing screens or a lock for privacy. 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. Lacey, T. A., Toossi, M., Dubina, K. S., & Gensler, A. B. (2017). Projections overview and highlights, 2016–26. Monthly Labor Review. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  2. 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 retail and personal services

Lactation break time and space in a small retail store

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: They're not distracted in the same way because their heart isn't divided and their baby is here with them.
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The Giggling Green Bean, a Denver retail store, supports breastfeeding mothers by providing a private space and allowing women to bring their babies to work.

Lactation break time and space in a medium-sized nonprofit retailer

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Jessilyn Gardiner, Goodwill Associate
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The Indianapolis Goodwill Industries found creative space to support breastfeeding moms at work with a clean storage area and support from management.

Lactation break time and space in a large retail pharmacy

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: that this boy's gaining weight as, you know, right on track and we meet with the lactation consultant who could confirm that for us.
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An Indianapolis Walgreens supports breastfeeding moms with creative space solutions and flexible breaks. They also provide community resources for new mothers.

Lactation break time and space in a large retail store

Video thumbnail. Caption reads: Kevan Bauer, WIC (Women, Infatnas and Children) Peer Counselor.
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A Palestine, Texas Walmart retrofitted a dressing room as a private breastfeeding room for employees and customers, with an electrical outlet for a breast pump.

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.

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.