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Workplace Policy

mother & baby

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) provides a supportive environment to enable breastfeeding employees to express their milk during working hours. This policy is applicable to mothers of children one year or less, is communicated to all current employees and included in the New Employee Orientation Package.

BNL’s Guests and Users who breastfeed are welcome to use the space provided for lactation purposes.

Download a copy of the workplace policy (pdf).

Laboratory Responsibilities

Breastfeeding employees who choose to continue providing their milk for their infants after returning to work shall receive:

Time to Express Milk or Breastfeed (Lactation Time)

The law provides for “reasonable break times” for nursing mothers to express milk. It typically takes from 15 to 20 minutes every two to four hours to express milk. However, managers and supervisors are encouraged to be mindful of the following factors when determining the length of break times: location of the lactation room, whether the employee must retrieve her pump and other supplies from a separate location and whether the employee will need to unpack and set up her own pump.

Lactation times shall be established for each employee based on her work schedule. If possible, the lactation time is to run concurrently with any break time already provided. The breastfeeding employee may be offered a flexible time schedule or flexible assignments to accommodate pumping or breastfeeding.

Space and Equipment for Expressing Milk or Breastfeeding

A private room (not a restroom) shall be available for employees to breastfeed or express milk. The room will be sanitary, located near a sink with running water for washing hands and rinsing out breast pump parts, and have an electrical outlet. A lactation room is available in Building 490, Room 8-13. This room is to be used solely for the purpose of expressing milk. If employees prefer, they may also breastfeed or express milk in their own private office, or in other comfortable locations agreed upon in consultation with the employee’s supervisor. Expressed milk can be stored in designated refrigerator provided in the lactation room, the employee’s personal cooler or other location.

In addition to the lactation room in Building 490, we expect to have an additional room in the new NSLS –II building.

Staff Support

Supervisors and managers are responsible for alerting pregnant and breastfeeding employees of the Laboratory’s work site lactation support program and for making them aware of policies and practices that will help facilitate each employee’s infant feeding goals. The process of alerting employees can be accomplished by posting the Workplace Lactation Policy in area where employees’ general information is posted and by referring employees to the Lactation Support Program Website. It is expected that all employees will assist in providing a positive atmosphere of support for breastfeeding employees.

Employee Responsibilities

Communication with Supervisors

Employees who wish to express milk during the work period shall keep supervisors and managers informed of their needs so that appropriate accommodations can be made to satisfy the needs of both the employee and the Laboratory.

Maintenance of Milk Expression Areas

Breastfeeding employees are responsible for keeping milk expression areas clean, using antimicrobial wipes to clean the pump and the area around it. Employees are also responsible for keeping the general lactation room clean for the next user. This responsibility extends to both designated milk expression areas and other areas where milk may be expressed.

Milk Storage

Employees should label all milk expressed with their name and date collected so it is not inadvertently confused with another employee’s milk. Employees should remove expressed milk stored in refrigerator by close of business every day.

Use of Break Times to Express Milk

There is flexibility for mothers to take lactation breaks. These breaks should be negotiated between the mother and her supervisor. Breaks allow breastfeeding employees to express their milk or nurse their infants on site.