Workplaces Matter: Texas Recognizes “Mother Friendly” Worksites

The City of Edinburg was recently recognized as a Mother Friendly Worksite by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

Edinburg is one of only three cities in Texas to have implemented a policy to accommodate an employee’s breastfeeding-related needs and provide access to facilities, flexible schedules, and equipment assistance.

Both the Texas and Federal law state a mother is entitled to breastfeed her baby in any location in which the mother is authorized to be.

The Federal law goes on to say that mothers are entitled to a reasonable amount of break time and a space to express milk as frequently as needed by the nursing mother, for up to one year following the birth of the employee’s child.

The City of Edinburg and all city buildings are now designated as Mother Friendly Worksites. Irma Garza, public information director said under the new policy employees will be allowed time necessary to pump the milk. They will also supply whatever equipment is needed.

An employer may be designated as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite if they offer a written employee worksite lactation support policy that offers:

Flexible work schedules including scheduling breaks and work patterns to provide time for expression of milk.

Access to a private location(s) that is not a bathroom, for the purpose of milk expression.

Access to a nearby clean and safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out any breast pump equipment.

Access to hygienic storage options for mothers to safely store breast-milk.

The City of Edinburg recognizes that breast feeding is not only good for babies but it is also good for business. According to DSHS, mother friendly worksites benefit from increased employee retention, lower absenteeism, higher morale, greater productivity and reduced health care costs.

The other two cities designated as mother friendly worksites are San Antonio and Austin.