2.2.5 Requesting a Lactation Accommodation

Vice President for Human Resources
Last Updated

Applicability: This policy applies to all faculty, academic staff, other teaching staff, and staff employees.

Students and postdoctoral scholars with questions about lactation accommodations may contact the Title IX Office at titleix@stanford.edu (mailto:titleix@stanford.edu) or 650-497-4955.

1. Policy Summary

Stanford University supports the importance of health and bonding for parents nursing their infants. It is the policy of the university to follow all state and federal laws and regulations in this area, including California Labor Code (Sections 1030-1033), Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act. In promoting a family-friendly work environment and to ensure equality of access for employees who wish to breastfeed, the university will provide reasonable accommodations to enable employees to express breast milk.

Lactation spaces are available to all members of the university community, including students, postdoctoral scholars, and third parties who participate in Stanford programs and activities. The WorkLife Office (https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/benefits-rewards/worklife) maintains a list of campus spaces that may be used for lactation.

All Stanford University affiliated nursing parents, including students and postdoctoral scholars, are encouraged to register for the Stanford Lactation Support Program (https://stanforduniversity.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3UWeounCEm48bxH). Additional resources for lactation support information and educational resources are available on Cardinal at Work at: worklife.stanford.edu (https://worklife.stanford.edu)

2. Implementation and Responsibility

a. Employees:

are responsible for notifying a supervisor as soon as a lactation accommodation is needed. It is recommended that an employee anticipating an accommodation discuss their needs with their supervisor before a family leave is taken, including the anticipated schedule and request to access an appropriate space. Requests from staff employees should be made to the supervisor or Human Resources Manager. Faculty, academic staff and other teaching staff should contact their Department Chair and departmental faculty affairs officer.

b. Supervisors:

are responsible for receiving requests for a lactation accommodation, and in consultation with the Human Resources Manager, reviewing accommodation requirements, identifying appropriate space and schedule for the employee, and discussing the accommodation with the employee. In the case of faculty, academic staff and other teaching staff, the term ‘supervisor’ in this policy refers to the Department Chair.

c. Human Resources Managers:

are responsible for advising supervisors of accommodation requirements and assisting supervisors in consultation with the building or facilities managers to identify appropriate space to accommodate the employee. To identify the local Human Resources office, call the appropriate number: Campus 650-721-4272; School of Medicine 650-497-2750; SLAC 650-926-2358.

d. Department Chairs and Departmental Faculty Affairs Officers:

are responsible for receiving faculty, academic staff and other teaching staff requests for a lactation accommodation and, in consultation with the Human Resources Manager or departmental faculty affairs officer, reviewing accommodation requests and requirements, identifying appropriate space for the employee and discussing the accommodation with the employee.

3. Process - Recommended Steps

a. Step One – Request

Employees are responsible for initiating the request for a lactation accommodation. The request does not need to be made in writing, nor is a doctor’s note required. The employee should consider discussing a request with their supervisor or Human Resources Manager before taking a family leave.

b. Step Two – Discussion

When received, the supervisor or Human Resources Manager will meet with the employee to acknowledge the request and help develop an accommodation. The supervisor or Human Resources Manager should confirm that the employee has a private, clean and secure place to express breastmilk (see Section 5: Identifying Space). If the employee has questions or concerns about expressing breastmilk at work, questions should be referred to the Human Resources Manager or the WorkLife Office.

c. Step Three – Follow up

The supervisor or Human Resources Manager should confirm the accommodation in writing and offer to revisit the plan with the employee after two to three weeks to see if any changes are needed. 

4. Accommodation Periods

An accommodation includes a reasonable amount of time taken as needed by the employee to express breastmilk in a space that complies with state and federal requirements (see Section 5: Identifying Space). When possible, time should be taken during regularly scheduled meal and rest periods. The number of breaks needed to express breastmilk may vary. A nursing parent will typically need two or three breaks during an eight-hour period; however, additional break times may be necessary. If the time to express breastmilk exceeds an employee’s regularly-scheduled meal or rest periods, non-exempt employees may request to be provided an opportunity to make up time per Admin Guide Memo 2.1.5 (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/compensation-staff-employees). If no reasonable opportunity exists for a non-exempt employee to make up time, the time to express breastmilk that exceeds paid rest periods will not be paid. 

If an employee, who is otherwise entitled to rest breaks or meal periods under Guide Memo 2.1.5: Compensation of Staff Employees (https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/staff-employment-policies/compensation-staff-employees), Sections 2.e-f, is not provided reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk, a penalty of one hour of the employee's straight time hourly rate must be paid to the employee each day there is such a violation. Any employee who believes they have not been provided with reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk should immediately report their concerns to their local Human Resources office or University Human Resources-Employee & Labor Relations. Employees may also pursue complaints directly with the California Labor Commissioner's Office.

5. Identifying Space

Appropriate space that complies with state and federal requirements includes any space that can be made private, shielded from view and free from intrusions from coworkers or the public, and is not located in a bathroom. Appropriate space can include a private office, a conference room with a locking door, or any other compliant space that can be secured and shielded from view. Appropriate space must include all of the following requirements:

  • Be safe, clean and free of hazardous materials;
  • Contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items;
  • Contain a place to sit; and
  • Have access to electricity or alternative devices, including, but not limited to, extension cords or charging stations needed to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump.

The employee must be provided access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator suitable for storing milk in close proximity to the employee's workspace.

6. Employee's Own or Adjacent Building

Every effort should be made to identify space in the employee’s building when possible. It may be necessary to identify more than one space in order to meet the needs of both the employee and department. Space may be identified at an adjacent building within a reasonable walking distance and that is accessible to the employee during the arranged lactation schedule. A reasonable distance is recommended as no more than a 5-minute walk from the employee’s building. For multi-use spaces, the use of the room for lactation will take precedence over other uses during the time it is used for lactation.

7. Identified Lactation Locations

If space cannot be identified in the employee’s building or an adjacent building, the WorkLife Office (https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/benefits-rewards/worklife) maintains a list of campus spaces that may be used for lactation. 

Source URL: https://adminguide.stanford.edu/chapters/human-resources/general-employment-policies/requesting-lactation-accommodation