Workplace Breastfeeding Policy and Procedure

Date: July 08, 2009


In compliance of the Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act, Public Act 92-0068, the university is committed to the adoption and implementation of this Workplace Breastfeeding Policy and Procedure and will be enforced, effective immediately, for all employees.


Northern Illinois University recognizes the importance of breastfeeding and supports the accommodation of mothers who choose to continue breastfeeding, nursing or expressing milk after their return to work.

Covered Employee
Means a person currently employed or subject to recall after layoff or leave of absence with a right to return to a position with the university or former employee who has terminated service within the preceding year.


Supervisor’s responsibility
As part of procedure for applying for maternity leave, mothers should be provided this policy and the request for breastfeeding form by the department.

Upon receipt of request for accommodations for breastfeeding, the department must take the necessary steps to ensure that accommodations are made prior to employee’s return to work. It is recommended that the department discuss accommodations and schedule adaptation with the employee prior to the return to work date.  

Employee’s Responsibility
Employees need to inform their supervisor as early as possible of their intention to continue breastfeeding following maternity leave of absence.  At least 4 weeks notice should be given. This provides the department time for all necessary arrangements to be made.

Maximum Accommodations/Schedule Adaptation
The accommodations for breastfeeding will expire one year from the date of birth of the child.  If the mother discontinues breastfeeding, the employee is obligated to notify her supervisor immediately. Failure to notify the supervisor upon discontinuing breastfeeding and continuing to utilize the accommodations and/or schedule adaptation would be considered a policy violation subject to appropriate employment sanctions.

Flexible Scheduling
A breastfeeding employee shall be allowed a flexible schedule to express breast milk for her infant child.  The time allowed will not exceed the normal time allowed for lunch and breaks. Break time must, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.  The department is not required to provide break time if to do so would unduly disrupt the department’s operation.  For time above and beyond normal lunch and breaks the employee may request use of available vacation benefit, early start time or leave for work later.  All requests for time above and beyond normal lunch and breaks are subject to approval by the department based on operational needs. 

Privacy/Accommodations/Designated Lactation Space
The department will make reasonable effort to provide a clean lockable private room (not a toilet stall or public restroom) or other location, in close proximity to the work area, where an employee can express her milk in privacy.  The room should have a chair and accessible electrical outlets for an electric breast pump and if possible a small table.  A clean water source for washing hands and rinsing out any nursing equipment must be available; a restroom or break room with a sink does satisfy this requirement.    It is the employee’s responsibility to keep the location clean after each use and remove any personal items.

Nursing Child
Bringing a child to the workplace is not recommended.  However, a mother may elect to nurse her child during the scheduled breaks in the designated area. The mother will make the necessary arrangement with her supervisor and child care giver.  The child care giver will meet at the designated location and time.  It is important that these schedule times do not disrupt the operations of the department. It is the supervisor’s discretion to determine if disruptions do occur and may terminate the direct nursing of child and provide accommodations for pumping only.

Storing Breast Milk
Breastfeeding women will provide their own containers and storage unit such as small ice chest or thermos from home. If breast milk is stored in a common refrigerator, the expressed milk container must be placed in a clean plastic box with lid, which has the mother’s name on it, and placed on a high shelf in the shared refrigerator, not in the door panel. It is the employee’s responsibility to remove expressed milk at the end of each day.


  • Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act, Illinois Public Act 92-0068
  • Rights to Breastfeed Act, Illinois Public Act 093-0942
  • Oregon Department of Public Health