Considerable progress has been made over the past 20 years to accommodate the workplace needs of employees who are nursing. Naomi Bar-Yam, ACSW, PhD, current president of the board of directors of Human Milk Banking Association of North America, said that a successful workplace program to support breastfeeding employees needs to provide a nursing mother room that is centrally located and equipped to provide:
Adequate lighting and ventilation;
An electrical outlet; and
Employer guidelines for use might include break times for pumping and a flexible work schedule or job sharing to enable mothers to nurse their babies at work. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau has developed a resource kit for employers called “The Business Case for Breastfeeding”.
Hospitalists as Test Subjects
A 2016 study asked 66 general surgery residency program directors in the United States about their own programs’ parental leave policies:
67% of programs surveyed employed a maternity leave policy.
48% of programs offered leave for the non-childbearing parent.
58% cited a six-week maternity leave policy.
45% cited a one-week paternity leave policy.
38% reported availability of on-site childcare.
58% reported availability of lactation facilities.
46% of university program directors said that the research years are the best time to have a child during residency.
52% of independent program directors said that no particular time during residency is best.
61% of all program directors reported that becoming a parent negatively affects female trainees’ work.
33% said a female resident’s becoming a parent placed an increased burden on fellow residents.