Credit our partnership with Medela, the global leader in breast pump technology, or the impending due-dates of two staff members, or maybe the simple fact that breastfed babies are healthier, but whatever the catalyst, we realized we could do better for moms who pump.
With the full support of StoneArch’s leadership team, two of our enterprising designers transformed a former workroom into “The Womb.” The cozy retreat lives up to its namesake—soothing colors, comfy furniture, soft lighting, mini-fridge (for breastmilk and water) and a gizmo for securing the door from the side. According to our coworkers who pump, it’s perfect.
Coincidentally, the topic of breastfeeding in the workplace has been getting more attention these days. The Vikings made NFL history in September when they announced the installation of two lactation suites at their corporate offices and two mobile units at the 60,000-seat TCF Bank Stadium. No doubt nursing moms everywhere tossed their pumps in the air at this happy news.
More recently, the University of Minnesota released a study of more than 1,000 working mothers who gave birth in 2011 and 2013. The study found that 60 percent lacked sufficient break time and private spaces for pumping—in spite of federal legal mandates for both. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the 2010 Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more workers to “provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth.” The law also stipulates that employers need to “provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.”
While good news on paper, the provision doesn’t include any penalties for businesses that don’t comply. Meaning, it’s up to individual employees to enforce it.
We’ve come a long way babies, but we’ve still got a ways to go.