Breastfeeding Information for Workplaces - Minnesota Department of Health

Breastfeeding Information for Workplaces

Support Breastfeeding Moms Returning to Work

Women who return to work often find it challenging to meet their breastfeeding goals. Workplace support for breastfeeding is a critical piece of the national effort to extend the time mothers breastfeed and increase exclusive breastfeeding.

Why should my workplace support breastfeeding women?

Supporting breastfeeding mothers is not only the right thing to do, it helps businesses save money and retain employees. Supporting breastfeeding women in the workplace has bottom line benefits for employers.

  • Breastfeeding employees miss work less often
  • Breastfeeding lowers health care costs
  • Breastfeeding support in the workplace reduces turnover rates
  • Workplace lactation support programs improve productivity and loyalty
  • Breastfeeding support can generate positive public relations

Accommodating breastfeeding employees

Workplace support for breastfeeding women has four components, which can be summed with the acronym STEP:

  • Support: From supervisors, colleagues and the employer
  • Time: Leave after birth and flexible scheduling to accommodate lactation breaks during work time
  • Education: For mothers, fathers and supervisors about the benefits of breastfeeding and the worksite policy
  • Place: A private space to express milk

Minnesota breastfeeding law

Minnesota law requires employers to provide breastfeeding parents with reasonable break time to express milk and a private room or other location for milk expression, other than a bathroom or a toilet stall, with access to an electrical outlet and in close proximity to the employees workspace.

Employers are required to comply with these laws and Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) may issue compliance orders if violations occur. In 2021, WESA’s break time accommodations for breastfeeding parents requirements were updated. Effective January 1, 2022, an employer will not be able to reduce an employee’s compensation for time used for expressing milk. This change does not require unpaid break times such as a mealtime to be converted to paid break time.

Please visit the Department of Labor and Industry's webpage Pregnant Workers and New Parents to review employer assistance materials about expectant and new parent employees and further details about these upcoming changes or contact the (DLI) at or 651-284-5075.

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Updated Tuesday, 15-Feb-2022 09:46:08 CST