It's no secret that the United States is seriously lacking in employee benefits for parents. While the Affordable Care Act made things better, some employers are only doing the bare minimum for their workers, while other are simply killing it. Here are the best companies for breastfeeding moms to work for, because even though you might feel like an overworked dairy cow, it's nice not to be treated that way.
In 2010, the Fair Labor Standards Act was amended to mandate that large employers provide "a reasonable break time" for moms to breastfeed or pump, up to the child's first birthday. It also specifies that women should receive breaks "each time such employee has need to express the milk," meaning they're not limited to just one break per shift. Even better, employers also have to provide "a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion" while women are pumping. While some companies hastily use locks and folding chairs to retrofit supply closets, some more enlightened businesses have realized that investing a few bucks in their employees' comfort actually benefits everyone. Besides cushy lactation rooms, a few have even more perks for breastfeeding employees. Get ready to dust off your resume.
Pop quiz: where's the most comfortable place to breastfeed? If you answered "on my couch, while wearing pajamas and eating Goldfish crackers," you might enjoy working at Netflix, where moms and dads can basically do whatever they want for a year after their child is born (or adopted). From the company's blog: "Parents can return part-time, full-time, or return and then go back out as needed. We’ll just keep paying them normally." Forget a 20-minute pumping break, go ahead and take a month. Raising a baby is exhausting; you've earned it.
Or maybe you love working, and you'd rather go back ASAP. Being attached to a newborn can make jetting around the world rather prohibitive, but IBM solved that problem: when they send a breastfeeding mom on a business trip, they'll pay to ship her breast milk home in special temperature-controlled packages, according to CNN. Fly free, new moms, and don't feel the least bit guilty about it.
Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a "multinational professional services firm," which might make it sound like the only roles for women there are pouring scotch and answering phones. Wrong! The company consistently ranks among the top Best Companies list by Working Mother. Moms receive 14 weeks off after giving birth at full pay, as well as free access to lactation consultants and hospital-grade breast pumps.
Elle's list of the best lactation rooms shows that even some of the "nice" ones aren't... ideal. Rows of armchairs separated by curtains look more like a day surgery recovery ward than a calming place to nurse or pump. But if you know anything about Google's employee perks, you know its lactation room is dope. We're talking foot rests, refrigerators, and free magazines. And best of all, you need a key card to get in, so as tempting as it seems, nobody's stealing your spot (or your milk!).
But Discovery has Google beat. In addition to all the aforementioned perks, Discovery Channel's lactation rooms also boasts phones, baby wipes, parenting books, and TVs. Bonus: they look like living rooms, not break rooms.
While not everyone can work at these companies, such perks are slowly gaining traction as more companies realize that employees perform better when they actually feel appreciated. If your company's not on this list, forward the link to your human resources department and ask them why not. It can't hurt!