Companies address breastfeeding needs

| Print |  Email
Archives - March 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008

WKBreastfeeding.jpg Wieden+Kennedy’s private breastfeeding room at its offices in downtown Portland.

STATEWIDE In the few months since Oregon’s workplace breastfeeding law arrived, some companies have been acting to comply with requirements to provide private space and time for new moms who need to pump breast milk at work, while others with existing support are kicking it up a notch.

It took years for workplace breastfeeding protection to win enough support from business to pass through the state Legislature. Now that it’s here, lobbyists, breastfeeding advocates and companies say it will help nursing mothers without putting undue burden on industry.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, requires Oregon employers to make a private area available for working mothers to express breast milk and 30 minutes of unpaid time off for every four hours worked to do it. It’s part of a wave of family-friendly workplace initiatives that has seen similar laws pass in a total of 14 states, with bills pending in 12 others.

Oregon’s workplace breastfeeding bill was introduced in 2001 but didn’t get far due to opposition from business groups for placing too many requirements on small business. It ultimately earned their approval after being reworked to exempt companies with fewer than 25 employees, which account for about 90% of Oregon businesses, according to the Alliance of Oregon Industries. Also exempt are business owners who can prove complying with the law would create an undue or financial hardship.

The Oregon companies that must comply represent 70% of the state’s workers. Some of them are carving mothers’ rooms out of offices or other space. Cascade Healthcare Community has created a mothers’ room at its hospitals in Bend and Prineville and two other facilities, and is creating such a room at its Redmond hospital. LaCrosse Footwear, the Portland work-boot manufacturer, is putting a mothers’ room in a former office, with a locking door, window shade, upholstered chair and table.

Many companies are long-time supporters of employees’ nursing needs, such as Wieden+Kennedy, which built a private breastfeeding room within its women’s locker room eight years ago when it moved to the Pearl district in Portland.

New Seasons Market, the natural foods chain with nine stores and 1,800 employees in the Portland metro area, has long provided employees with a private space to nurse, offered breastfeeding classes and hosted the website for the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon, a breastfeeding advocacy group. It’s now working to rent breast pumps from the group for employees to use at work, and is underwriting the group’s telephone and Yellow Page ad expenses. “We felt it was so important that moms who needed help be able to call someone for information on how to take care of their baby,” says spokeswoman Claudia Knotek.

MICHELLE V. RAFTER



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

100 Best Green Workplaces announced

News
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-1000pxwBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

More than 250 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s seventh annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

The Green Paradox

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL

Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS