As we all know, this year has been hard on working women, and the organizations who employ them. In September alone 865,000 women over the age of 20 dropped out of the workforce, compared with 216,000 men in the same age group. (DOL)
The struggle with managing a career, parenting and running a household during the pandemic has forced an alarming number of women to leave the workforce. An additional challenge for women arises when they choose to continue providing breast milk for their baby when they return to work. In a study conducted in June 2020 (add citation) nearly half of the mothers we surveyed said “they are even more committed to feeding their babies breast milk since COVID-19.”
As a result, it’s never been more important for employers to focus attention on retaining their female workforce, and focus on developing family-friendly benefits that can also help attract parenting women to their organization when the current crisis is more manageable.
Evaluate Your Organization
The first thing employers should do is evaluate their company to determine if they have the right mix of benefits in place to support their working, breastfeeding population. We’ve put together a handy guide: How to Conduct a Corporate Self-Evaluation that offers a list of items to include as you evaluate your organization. You can begin by reviewing current breastfeeding regulations for compliance and visiting your designated lactation space(s) to see if it meets the standards you and your employees expect.
Another great way to determine how well you are doing when it comes to supporting parents, is to simply ask your employees! We’ve made this easy, by pre-writing a survey you can use and send to employees. You can add any questions you’d like and customize it to fit your organizations current offerings. We are sure you will find the information useful when it comes to learning what your new parents need from you as they integrate new parenting responsibilities with their work life. Visit our Resource Center and scroll down to the Employee Survey Templates. They’re available in Word, Google doc or PDF.
Formal Lactation Accommodation Policy Follows
Once you’ve conducted an evaluation of your organization, you are ready to create a formal Lactation Accommodation Policy (if you don’t already have one). Here is an article we’ve written that explains the importance of a formal policy, what it should include and resources on how to get started.
As 2020 comes to an end it’s a perfect time to evaluate your organization and determine how you are doing when it comes to supporting breastfeeding parents—and research additional parental benefits that support breastfeeding workers as we head into the new year.