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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Use this Draft Letter to Request for a Lactation Program

Do you want to set up a work place lactation room?  I previously wrote about our experience in setting up a lactation room in my workplace.  In my guest post over at My Mommy Journey, I shared the laws establishing the rights of breastfeeding and working mothers.  Because it is my dream that all public and private workplaces will have the support and facilities for breastfeeding and working mothers, I have taken it a step further and wrote this draft letter which you can copy, edit and use to submit to your supervisor and Human Resource Department to request for a lactation room and policy.

TO:     [Supervisor’s Name]

Subject:      Lactation Support in the Workplace

Thank you for your support during my [# of months or years] with [name of company].  This is an exciting time for my family and me as we prepare for the birth of our child.  I am eager to work with you in making preparations that will allow me to return to work as soon as possible after the birth of my baby.     

After speaking with my doctor and other health professionals, I have made the decision to breastfeed my baby.  Just as I try to give my best to the company when I am at work, I also want to give the best I can to my baby.  My doctor tells me that breastfeeding is important in preventing many illnesses and diseases for both my baby and me.

As such, I am writing to request for the establishment of a lactation support program in [name of company] which includes setting up lactation stations and lactation periods.  To support my request, I am quoting the relevant portion of Republic Act No. 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.

Sec. 11. Establishment of Lactation Stations. - It is hereby mandated that all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions shall establish lactation stations.

Sec. 12. Lactation Periods. - Nursing employees shall granted break intervals in addition to the regular time-off for meals to breastfeed or express milk. These intervals, which shall include the time it takes an employee to get to and from the workplace lactation station, shall be counted as compensable hours worked. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may adjust the same:Provided, That such intervals shall not be less than a total of forty (40) minutes for every eight (8)-hour working period.

Lactation stations have likewise been defined under the law as:
"p) Lactation stations - private, clean, sanitary, and well-ventilated rooms or areas in the workplace or public places where nursing mothers can wash up, breastfeed or express their milk comfortably and store this afterward.”

Further, the law goes on to emphasize that "the lactation station shall not be located in the toilet." The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10028 also provides for the establishment of a workplace lactation policy:

Section 9. Workplace Policy - Every workplace shall develop a clear set of guidelines that protects, promotes and supports breastfeeding program. The written policy should be developed in consultation with the workers, approved and properly disseminated to all concern. The Nursing/Lactating employees should be oriented on the proper handling, labeling, and storage of their own expressed breastmilk. The policy should be part of the company's general policy or manual of operation, and the policy should operationalize the provision of this IRR.

            I would be happy to meet and discuss the specific needs that I have.  Knowing my company is making it possible for me to continue breastfeeding will help me feel much better about leaving my baby to come back to work.  I look forward to discussing this with you. 

[Your Name]

Once you get this letter to your Human Resources Department, the next thing to think about would be your specific needs.  Basic would be the time and place for milk expression - both of which are required to be provided under the law.  Check out my post about an ideal workplace lactation room to get an idea of what you might request for.

The establishment of a lactation room and policy won't come into fruition without employee initiative.  SO YOU MUST TAKE THE FIRST STEP.  Do share your success and failures.  Feel free to post if you have more questions.  Help make my dream become reality!

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