SOURCE: National Business Group on Health

National Business Group on Health

February 03, 2011 10:00 ET

National Business Group on Health Offering Employers Resources for Developing Workplace Breastfeeding Programs

Employer Toolkit, Issue Brief Include Case Studies, Resources to Help Meet Needs of Fastest Growing Segment of U.S. Workforce

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - February 3, 2011) - The National Business Group on Health is offering employers two comprehensive resources -- an employer toolkit and an issue brief -- to help employers nationwide create and promote onsite breastfeeding programs for their female employees. The availability of these resources follows the U.S. Surgeon General's recent "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding," plan and will help employers who are now required under the federal health reform act to provide appropriate workplace accommodations for nursing mothers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 Breastfeeding Report Card, three out of four mothers in the U.S. follow their doctor's advice to breastfeed immediately after birth. However, women employed full-time are less likely to initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding once they return to work. In fact, statistics shows that only one-fourth of employed women with children under age 1 combine working with breastfeeding for at least one month.

"Employers are becoming increasingly interested in workplace breastfeeding programs, and with good reason. Working mothers represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. workforce and a major pool of talent which no employer wants to lose," said Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, whose members include more than 300 large U.S. employers. "These programs have shown that they can help lower health care costs, increase productivity, reduce absenteeism as well as attract and retain valuable experienced employees. In fact, one recent study of companies with lactation support programs found an average retention rate of 94 percent."

The employer toolkit, "Investing in Workplace Breastfeeding Programs and Policies," was developed with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health and the Health Resources Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The 71-page toolkit provides employers with the essential information they need to understand the components of breastfeeding programs, how to get started and measure success. 

The toolkit is divided into ten major sections beginning with an overview of the business case for workplace breastfeeding programs and an in-depth discussion of the various program options available to employers. Also included are case studies from three major employers with workplace breastfeeding programs. The balance of the toolkit offers comprehensive information on important aspects of a workplace breastfeeding program such as space allocation for lactation stations, education and support. The publication also includes an exhaustive list of resources and tools for employers and employees to help employers ensure that their programs are well received among their workers.

In addition to the toolkit, the National Business Group on Health released an accompanying issue brief titled "Workplace Breastfeeding Programs: Employer Case Studies." This publication presents five exemplary case studies to provide guidance to employers regarding the development, implementation and evaluation of workplace breastfeeding programs. Case studies include CIGNA Corporation, Corning Incorporated, CVS Caremark, Occidental Oil and Gas Corporation and Texas Instruments Incorporated.

"Investing in Workplace Breastfeeding Programs and Policies: An Employer's Toolkit" and "Workplace Breastfeeding Programs: Employer Case Studies" are available free of charge to the public and can be found at http://www.businessgrouphealth.org

About the National Business Group on Health

The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical solutions to its members' most important health care problems. The Business Group helps drive today's health agenda while promoting ideas for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care and sharing best practices in health benefits management with senior benefits, HR professionals, and medical directors from leading corporations. Business Group members, which include 64 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.

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