Becoming a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite

February 22, 2021 • Erin Kolecki

Becoming a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite

Mother-Friendly Worksites are organizations that proactively support employees who choose to breastfeed their children.

Designation in the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite program offers employers the opportunity to highlight their commitment to improving the health of employees and their families through engagement in this initiative.

TASB HR Services is partnering with the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite program to promote this designation to our members. Recognition as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite builds on already required lactation-related requirements in Policy DG (LEGAL).

Ten Texas school districts and charter schools have achieved this designation. They are:

  • Austin ISD
  • Daingerfield-Lone Star ISD
  • Electra ISD
  • Garland ISD
  • Huffman ISD
  • KIPP Austin Public School
  • North East ISD
  • Round Rock ISD
  • Royse City ISD
  • Wichita Falls ISD
  • Winnsboro ISD

Why it matters

A mother-friendly program benefits families, employees, employers, and the community. While an overwhelming majority of Texas mothers initiate breastfeeding, the 2018 Texas WIC Infant Feeding Practices Survey found more than half report not meeting their infant feeding goals. Return to work is the leading barrier to breastfeeding cited among working mothers.

Mother-Friendly Worksite designation can help establish an organization as a supportive employer. Terra Traynham, Director of Benefits for Royse City ISD, shared that their designation has been very well received. “We have been blown away by so many positive comments from not just mothers in the district but from others within the community as well.  We are excited that we had the opportunity to bring this to RCISD and look forward to the expansion of this program in the years to come.” Employers with lactation-friendly programs are better able to:

  • Retain experienced employees
  • Lower recruitment and training costs
  • Reduce sick time taken by parents for a child’s illness
  • Boost morale and productivity
  • Reduce healthcare and insurance costs

Basic designation requirements

Employers may be eligible for the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite designation if they have a written and communicated lactation support policy that ensures employee access to all the following:

  • Flexible work schedules, including breaks and work patterns to provide time for expression of breastmilk
  • A private location(s) that is not a bathroom, is free from view and intrusion, and is adequately equipped for the purpose of milk expression
  • A nearby, clean, and safe water source and a sink for washing hands and rinsing out breast pump equipment
  • Hygienic storage options for mothers to safely store breastmilk

Getting started

Many school entities already meet the basic designation requirements in all or most of their campuses and locations, so obtaining the official designation would just require a few updates. Here’s how to get started:

  • Begin by reviewing the steps in the Build Your Program section of the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite website.
  • Spread the word to principals and worksite leaders. Utilize the resources included in Get People on Board.
  • Review the employee handbook and edit the section: “Breaks for Expression of Breast Milk” to include language from all the basic designation requirements.
  • Submit an application for designation as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite. Entities with more than 20 worksites may apply for all worksites in a single application by completing a spreadsheet and should send a request for the format to info@texasmotherfriendly.org.

Resources

The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite website offers resources and information that help make the designation process easy. Program staff are available by phone or email to answer questions about the process and to provide customized guidance and assistance to help plan and implement a program that is responsive to business needs.

Members may also reach out to us at TASB HR Services with questions about the designation process. We’d also love to hear your success stories! Once designated, employers can continue to improve upon the offerings to new mothers, possibly even achieving silver or gold designation.


Erin Kolecki is a compensation and HR consultant at TASB HR Services. Send Erin an email at erin.kolecki@tasb.org.


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Tagged: Benefits, "Employee handbook", HR, Retention