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Federal Breastfeeding Policy

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From The Washington Post, a story about how new rules are helping federal workers who are breastfeeding and pumping:

Federal workers who need to breast-feed on the job should be given a reasonable amount of time, must be provided access to a clean, private room and might not be paid while doing so, according to new government personnel rules.

Administration officials quietly released changes to the government’s breast-feeding policy shortly before Christmas, soon after President Obama ordered updates to how federal agencies and departments accommodate breast-feeding mothers.

The changes, outlined in a memo issued by the Office of Personnel Management, apply to all breast-feeding employees of the executive branch and were among several provisions related to workplace health and safety in last year’s health-care law.

“As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government strives to be a leader in the promotion of wellness programs and progressive workforce policies,” OPM Director John Berry said in his memo to agency personnel chiefs.

According to the memo, agencies and departments must provide employees with “a reasonable break time to express breast milk” up to one year after the birth of a child. Breast-feeding employees must be given access to a private area other than a restroom that is shielded from public view and intrusion by coworkers.

Federal personnel rules do not require compensation for workers who take breaks to breast-feed or express milk, but several agencies provide compensated breaks of 15 minutes each in the morning and afternoon that employees could use for breast-feeding, the OPM said.