Policy watch: Does your district have policies that support breastfeeding?

by Diane Greene, senior policy services consultant

As August is World Breastfeeding Month, this is a good time to review district policies and practices to ensure compliance with legal requirements that employees be provided with reasonable break time and an appropriate location to express milk for their infant children.

CSBA’s sample board policy BP 4033 – Lactation Accommodation reflects these federal and state requirements and prohibits discrimination, harassment and retaliation against any employee who chooses to exercise her rights under these laws. The Fair Employment and Housing Commission has determined that, because breastfeeding is an activity intrinsic to females, termination of an employee because she is still breastfeeding after returning to work from pregnancy disability leave is sexual discrimination.

In a sample of about 400 California districts, 41 percent have adopted a policy on lactation accommodation since CSBA’s sample policy was issued two years ago. CSBA’s sample policy is available to policy services subscribers and is also available on CSBA’s website at www.csba.org/PNB.

When adopting policy on this topic, districts are encouraged to review information about best practices and the benefits to employers and families of a workplace lactation accommodation policy. Resources are available through a number of agencies and organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, San Diego County Breastfeeding Coalition  and San Diego-based Healthy Works initiative.

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