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Breastfeeding Space for York County School

Problem Summary

The lack of designated space where breastfeeding employees of the York County School Division could pump their milk without any threats to health and privacy can become a legal issue for the organization, while also causing significant disadvantages for employees that have recently given birth and wish to breastfeed.

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There are specific initiatives and laws that protect the right of specific categories of employees in Virginia to have access to lactation rooms at work. Based on the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act peculiar to nursing mothers, the school division is recommended to take steps towards setting up pumping rooms for nonexempt employees.

Legal and Practical Considerations

Apart from the right to breastfeed in public places, nursing mothers in Virginia are protected when it comes to the opportunity to pump milk at work, but these protections do not apply to all categories of employees. The requirement to provide all breastfeeding employees with access to such rooms regardless of their employment option exists for specific employers, such as state agencies in Virginia.

For instance, according to section 2.2 of the Code of Virginia (2019), such agencies are anticipated to develop fair and appropriate break time policies and implement the Department of Labor recommendations regarding the frequency of breaks for nursing mothers. Also, they are to establish safe places that are shielded from intrusion and can be easily used by employees to express milk.

The York County School Division (2018) is committed to implementing the provisions of the FLSA that differentiate between exempt and nonexempt employees. Among some recently added provisions of the mentioned act is the Nursing Mothers Provision. According to it, different employers in Virginia, including schools, should offer additional accommodations for those employees that are nursing mothers and are eligible for overtime pay (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.).

In addition to the opportunity to take breaks for the purpose of pumping milk for twelve months after the child is born, employers are to provide nonexempt employees with access to places for lactation and pumping (not bathrooms) that would be clean, shielded from other individuals’ view, and accessed only by nursing mothers (U.S. Department of Labor, n.d.).

From the practical viewpoint, the lack of such spaces for nursing mothers may force some of them to stop breastfeeding or pump their breast milk in bathrooms that do not offer privacy and the opportunity to follow all hygienic standards related to how to prepare pumping equipment and store breast milk.

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Recommended Steps for Correction

In light of the abovementioned findings, the York County School District is recommended to take all necessary steps to implement the Nursing Mothers Provision of the FLSA and accommodate nursing mothers that meet the definition of nonexempt employees. The school district is advised to take a systematic approach to the issue and consider the total number of employees that meet the criteria listed above to determine the number of pumping rooms to be set up in the nearest future.

Next, the responsible representatives of the school district are to consider the minimum standards for pumping rooms that are not located in bathrooms and make sure to purchase or provide the necessary equipment. It is recommended that each pumping room has one sink that is regularly cleaned, one microwave oven that will be used to sterilize employees’ personal pumping equipment, and one small or compact refrigerator to store pumped milk.

Additionally, it is essential to provide access to electrical outlets, place one comfortable chair and one small table in each pumping room, and ensure privacy with the help of non-transparent doors with locks and occupancy indicators. Apart from meeting these minimum requirements, the school division can organize meetings with eligible employees to assess their additional needs, such as personal lockers, in a more detailed manner.


York County School Division. (2018). Employee handbook 2019-2020. Author.

Va. Code § 2.2-1201. (2019).

U.S. Department of Labor. (n.d.). Section 7(r) of the Fair Labor Standards Act – Break Time for Nursing Mothers Provision. Web.

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