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World Breastfeeding Week

Thursday, August 6, 2015
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
Human Resources Directors
From: 
MARK D. REINHOLD ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, EMPLOYEE SERVICES AND CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICER
NANCY C. LEE, M.D. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY-WOMEN’S HEALTH, DIRECTOR, OFFICE ON WOMEN’S HEALTH
Subject: 
World Breastfeeding Week

This memorandum provides information and guidance for Federal agencies on employer support for nursing mothers.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office on Women’s Health (OWH) have partnered to provide resources and information during World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7, 2015), and a webinar on this topic on Tuesday, August 25, 2015.  This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding and Work; Let’s Make it Work!” summarizes the goals and vision of this worldwide health observance.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law on March 23, 2010, amended section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  This amendment requires employers to provide a private space, other than a bathroom, for an employee to express breast milk for up to 1 year after the birth of an employee’s child. The private space must be shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.  All Federal agencies are required to provide employees a private space, permanent or temporary, consistent with these requirements.

To further promote breastfeeding, all health insurance carriers participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program cover support to nursing mothers, including breast pumps and educational counseling.  Interested employees should check Section 5, Maternity Care of their health plan brochures for details.  TRICARE and health plans offered under the ACA also provide coverage for similar services.  Your Agency Work-Life Coordinators and Benefits Officers can assist employees and managers in finding out more about specific FEHB carriers’ benefits. 

The Presidential Memorandum on Enhancing Workplace Flexibilities and Work-Life Programs (PM) signed on June 23, 2014, requires agencies to expand the access to workplace flexibilities and work-life programs including 1) break times for nursing mothers and a private space to express milk and 2) support for nursing mothers, including worksite lactation programs and resources. The following resources are available to learn more about what your workplace can do to support nursing mothers:

OPM and HHS, OWH are hosting a webinar that will feature a step-by-step tour of the “Supporting Nursing Moms at Work: Employer Solutions” website and overviews of successful agency programs.  The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  For more information on the webinar, please contact worklife@opm.gov.

Employees should contact their agency’s Work-Life or Lactation Support Coordinator for more information.  Agency human resources offices are encouraged to review the material available in OPM’s Guide and contact OPM’s Work-Life Office at worklife@opm.gov for assistance.

cc:        Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO), Deputy CHCOs, Directors of Diversity and Inclusion, Worksite Health & Wellness Coordinators