A source inside Washington Mutual has sent us the internal company policy on workplace lactation. They say that they found it amusing that the bank regulates employee’s breast-milk. Overall, the policy is mainly about how one needs to go to special lactation rooms to express one’s milk (for the unaware, that’s what it’s really called). Facility specialists are available if the lactation rooms aren’t up to snuff, and company consultants are on call if you have any questions about expressing your breast milk. Elsewhere, a business writer says that, “Workplace lactation programs are inexpensive way to reduce employee absenteeism, lower health insurance costs, and improve employee retention.” Overall, it’s actually a pretty good policy, but it’s interesting to see how they talk about breastfeeding in corp speak. Oh, by the way, if you express your milk at work and store it there, make sure to label it and take it home at the end of the day. Thanks.
Washington Mutual will make a reasonable effort to provide a private, secure space to nursing mothers for the purpose of expressing breast milk. This guideline addresses how to locate suitable facilities and arrange for time off to express breast milk, and provides additional resources.
Requesting a Lactation Room
The Health Promotion Department is responsible for handling inquiries regarding lactation rooms or locating other spaces suitable for expressing milk. Employees and managers should contact the Health Promotion Specialist assigned to their region with such requests.
Existing Lactation Rooms
Designated lactation rooms exist at some corporate office sites. Existing lactation rooms should be used whenever reasonably possible. Employees should observe all posted guidelines such as signup sheets, hours of availability, and security guidelines. If the condition of a room requires maintenance attention, contact the Facilities Service Center at 888-745-8680.
Employees in work locations that do not have a designated lactation room should arrange with their managers to use a private office to express milk, provided the office has a locking door and a means to obscure view into the office (drapes, blinds, etc). If the office needs to be modified in any way to make it suitable, contact Corporate Property Services before proceeding.
If no lactation room or other suitable space is available, contact the regional Health Promotion Specialist for assistance.
Employees have access to professional lactation consultants and additional support and education for breastfeeding through WaMu’s Work/Life Assistance Program. To access these services, contact Work/Life Assistance at 866-808-5004.
Time needed for lactation purposes should be taken during regularly scheduled break periods. If that is not possible, Washington Mutual will attempt to provide employees with additional unpaid breaks (consistent with business needs) to permit time to express milk. Any such additional breaks must be approved in advance by the employee’s manager.
Equipment and Storage
WaMu provides enhanced lactation support through the Work/Life Assistance Program, including a subsidy on a hospital-grade personal breast pump for participants. Employees are responsible for providing and storing any equipment and accessories needed for breastfeeding including storage containers and a cooler, if a refrigerator is not available.
Any necessary equipment (breast pump, storage containers, etc) should be securely stored at the employee’s workstation or at another storage area designated by management. These personal items should not be stored in the Washington Mutual lactation room. Loss or damage to equipment is not the responsibility of Washington Mutual.
Storage of Expressed Milk
In some cases, a refrigerator may be provided in the lactation room. If a refrigerator is not provided, expressed milk should be stored in a personal cooler secured at the designated storage area. In either case, expressed milk should be stored in a spill-proof container labeled with the employee’s name. Expressed milk must be removed from Washington Mutual premises at the end of the employee’s work day.
If you have questions about this or any other HR Policy or Guideline, please contact the Employee Service Center online or at 866-4-WAMU-HR.
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