Vermont’s Commission on Women and Department of Health is launching an initiative that offers free assistance to businesses in the state who are working to comply with a new law that requires accommodations for breastfeeding mothers at work. According to the Burlington Free Press, Vermont’s initiative is part of a nationwide US Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau initiative that aims to encourage women to breast-feed for longer after returning to work.
The law requires businesses to provide comfortable, private accommodations for women to pump milk and to allow breaks for pumping. Wendy Love, President of Vermont’s Commission on Women, told the Times Argus, “Sometimes it’s as simple as rigging a clothesline and fabric around a cubicle to create an enclosed space for women to be able to express breast milk and not be in dirty bathroom…There are very easy ways to do it.”
State labor statistics indicate that the fastest-growing sector of Vermont’s workforce is women with children under age 3. According to WCAX, about 85 percent of women in Vermont breastfeed their newborns. Vermont Commission on Women statistics show that for every dollar spent to support lactation, employers see a three dollar return on the investment reported the Burlington Free Press. The practice lowers turnover and absenteeism rates, lowers health care costs, and leads to higher morale and productivity.