New Report: Employing and Engaging Families with Young Children, 2024

Accommodations and Support for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Workers

Support for Pregnant Workers

Pregnant worker accommodations are work adjustments, such as more frequent breaks or light carry duty, that allow pregnant women to do their jobs safely and support their health and the health of their baby.

A 2021 study by Baylor University researchers showed that pregnancy discrimination, which includes lack of accommodations, leads to adverse health outcomes for both mothers and babies. To lower discrimination, the study researchers suggest that employers:
  • offer flexible schedules for pregnant workers;
  • ensure open communication and foster a culture of understanding between managers and employees;
  • accommodate for prenatal appointments;
  • help with family leave planning; and
  • normalize breastfeeding in the workplace.

A survey of 1,000 pregnant women conducted by Childbirth Connection program of the National Partnership for Women and Families found that:

  • 71% of women surveyed said they needed more frequent breaks during their pregnancy.
  • 61% said they needed a schedule modification or time off to obtain critical health care.
  • About half of women needed a change in job duties, such as less lifting or more sitting.
  • Pregnant women who hold part-time, lower-wage, lower-skilled, or more physically demanding jobs are more likely to need some kind of minor accommodation at work. When requests for adjustments are denied, low-wage workers are more likely to be forced to choose between their job and the health of themselves or their children.

Support for Breastfeeding Workers

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Family Physicians, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and breastfeeding with complementary foods through at least the first year. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 60% of US mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to, and just over half of babies are breastfed at six months. One major reason? Lack of support at work.

Supporting breastfeeding employees benefits employers, too. Improving lactation support policies leads to:
  • lower medical costs and health insurance claims employees and their babies;
  • significantly reduced turnover;
  • more women to stay in the workforce;
  • lower absenteeism;
  • improved productivity; and
  • improved employee morale and loyalty

There’s also a potential financial benefit. Employers with qualifying expenditures toward child care facilities, resources, or referrals for the benefit of their employees may be eligible to claim the Credit for Employer-Provided Child Care Facilities and Services, which falls under the provisions of general business credit. The credit is 25% of the qualified child care facility expenditures plus 10% of the qualified child care resource and referral expenditures paid or incurred during the tax year. The credit is limited to $150,000 per tax year. You can claim the credit at any time within three years from the due date of your return.

The health and well-being of our associates and visitors is and always will be Benco’s top priority. While Benco has many family friendly practices, our dedicated Lactation Room is a vital feature of our Home Office. In fact, we’ve continued to upgrade this room over the years based on associate feedback.  We feel our associates returning to work after the birth of a child (as well as our customers and visitors) need to have a private, comfortable and appropriately supplied room. This is just another aspect of the Benco Family Culture!

-George Rable, Chief Culture & People Office, Benco Dental