The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers of 50 or more to provide lactation rooms so nursing women can feed their babies or express breast milk. The rooms must be clean and private—and importantly, they can’t be restrooms.
Johns Hopkins University and Health System, based in Baltimore, with satellite campuses throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, decided not only to meet the law’s requirements, but exceed them.
The result is a model that other employers may want to copy.
A video detailing the university’s program is on YouTube.
The university and its world-renowned hospital took a strategic approach to developing its lactation room program.
When planning what it calls “Mother’s Rooms,” Johns Hopkins gathered data on where women who planned to use them worked. It also collected feedback about the rooms and the nursing mothers’ needs.
The rooms are equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps.
led the university to develop vending machines inside each Mother’s Room that dispense nursing supplies at affordable prices. The machines save women time should they need supplies such as pump tubing or bottles at work. They also generate revenue to help cover program costs.
To provide security, the rooms may only be accessed by key card or entering a code.
Not every employer will have Johns Hopkins’ resources, but some aspects are adaptable to most employers. For example, employers should determine where their nursing employees work and attempt to place lactation rooms in the most convenient locations. Lactation-supply vending machines would work almost anywhere.
Thoughtfully implemented, the ACA’s lactation room requirement can be more than a compliance burden. It’s an opportunity to provide a low-cost benefit that will pay dividends in lower retention costs.
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