Let's Talk About the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program
Published: October 21, 2015
Are you a public employer with questions about the recent Texas laws about worksite lactation? Well, you've come to the right place.
Recent changes to Texas-state law call for public employers to develop a written policy on the expression of breast milk by employees (Government Code Chapter 619, effective September 1, 2015). This law brings with it an exciting opportunity to develop worksite lactation programs that can benefit breastfeeding employees, their families and your entire workforce.
A worksite that is openly supportive of lactation is critical for new mothers, who are often uncomfortable talking to their employers about pumping at work. Not only that, but having a lactation program has cost-effective benefits. As an employer with this program, you can likely expect better employee retention, reduced sick time taken by parents for a child's illness, increased morale and productivity, and reduced health-care and insurance costs.
That said, you might be wondering how you can bring a lactation program to your place of business. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you take steps to support breastfeeding in your workplace. The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program is a nationally recognized, state-wide initiative which seeks to reduce barriers to breastfeeding by increasing the proportion of employers who have worksite lactation support policies and programs.
The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living works with the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program to engage employers and raise awareness about the new worksite lactation laws. Together we also offer guidance and resources to develop worksite lactation policies. Once a policy is developed and meets requirements, we review applications from employers to help them become part of the nearly 2,000 worksites that are recognized as Mother-Friendly in Texas.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a Mother-Friendly worksite, click here for the webinar archive from this week. In this webinar, Julie Stagg, who is the Texas State Breastfeeding Coordinator addresses (1) background on importance of supporting breastfeeding in the workplace (2) current state and federal policy (3) how to develop your worksite policy and (4) how to apply for Mother-Friendly designation.
Sad you missed the webinar this week? Don't worry, we will host a second webinar on these topics again on December 2, 2015. If you're interested in a more in-depth webinar on policy development, please tune in on Monday, November 9, 2015.
Krystin Matthews, MPH
Graduate Research Assistant
PhD Student, University of Texas School of Public Health, Austin Regional Campus