August 16, 2023

Don’t be afraid to ask for everything you need to make your experience more comfortable.

August is National Breastfeeding Month. This month serves as an important reminder of our rights in the workplace. Everyone has the right to choose how their baby is fed, but there are also several laws and codes that you should know so you can advocate for yourself, or your employees, in the workplace.

Priority number one for employers should be supporting their employees who are breastfeeding and following applicable state laws.

The Women’s Health action theme for the 2023 is “Enabling breastfeeding: making a difference for working parents.” Challenges in the workplace are still one of the most common reasons that women avoid breastfeeding or stop breastfeeding.

Coming back to work after parental leave is already challenging, but employers can make that easier for working parents by making sure they are listening, advocating, and following basic laws.

Here are the laws that you should keep top of mind if you work or hire in Indiana:

Indiana Code 5-10-6

This code allows for paid breaks for an employee to express her breastmilk for her infant.

Indiana Code 22-2-15

This code requires employers with twenty-five employees or more, where reasonably possible, to provide a location, other than a toilet stall, where an employee can express her breast milk in privacy during any period away from her assigned duties.

They must also provide a refrigerator or other cold storage space for keeping milk that has been expressed; or allow the employee to provide her own portable cold storage device for keeping milk that has been expressed until the end of the workday.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

This act requires employers to provide reasonable paid break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth — each time the employee has a need to express the milk.

Breastfeeding moms — do not be afraid to ask for everything you need to make your experience more comfortable. Here are some other items to ask your employer to provide:

  • a quiet, private room with a door that locks
  • a comfortable chair next to an electrical outlet
  • a small table
  • a miniature refrigerator specifically designated for pumping employees
  • access to a sink and soap so that employees can wash their hands and supplies.
  • access to sanitizing wipes

The picture below is the wellness room at Apex Benefits, equipped with everything a pumping employee might need.

Apex Benefits Wellness Room

As a pumping employee it is important to know your rights and how to self-advocate on your breastfeeding or pumping journey. Work and parent with confidence.

As an employer, support and listen to your people. You will help them feel more comfortable as they return to work and begin their next chapter as a working parent.

Weekly Recipe

Roman-Style Artichokes

Catherine Kirkhoff

Authored By

Catherine Kirkhoff

Director of Kinetiq Health

Catherine works with our client services team and wellness vendors to empower clients to implement, manage and measure their health and wellness initiatives. She manages the day-to-day activities of the team of analysts and clinicians driving Kinetiq Health program strategy for Apex clients.

Before joining Apex, Catherine worked in public health for six years as a curriculum coordinator for the Marion County Public Health Department. During that time, she earned her CHES and CLS certifications and provided health education throughout the community and schools in Marion County.

Meet Catherine