Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Statistics show that lactation breaks are not a workplace problem

Before you read further, make sure you are sitting down, and that there is nothing blunt nearby for you to bump your head on if you pass out from the shock. Okay, here we go. According to the Huffington Post, since Obamacare mandated that employers provide space in the workplace for mothers to lactate, the Department of Labor has cited a whopping 23 companies for not providing adequate lactation breaks or spaces.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics, there are 5,767,306 American employers, and yet only 23 have been cited for a violation of this mandate. In other words, the Department of Labor has cited .0004% of all American employers. If we only consider employers with 20 or more employees, the DOL has cited .0038%—still an infinitesimally small number. If we only consider the largest of employers—those with 100 or more employees—the percentage of citations drops to a still-miniscule .023%.

What does this mean? Either that the lactation mandate is not yet widely known, and as public knowledge catches up with the law’s requirements complaints (and citations) will rise. Or, the lack of lactation space in American workplaces is a myth that does not need need a legislative solution.

Are there employers that violate women’s rights (already protected by Title VII) to lactate in the workplace? Absolutely. Do enough trample these rights such that we need legislation to address this issues? Likely not.

[Hat tip: ABA Journal]