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Rural Employers Failing to Meet Needs of Breastfeeding Mothers

University of Missouri

A study from MU researchers found a lack of compliance with policies concerning breastfeeding mothers in workplaces in rural Missouri. 

The Affordable Care Act requires that a business with more than 50 employees provide sufficient facilities and to allow time for mothers to pump milk during the workday. 

Wilson Majee, an assistant professor at the MU School of Health Professions, conducted the study.  He said there appears to be a lack of communication on both sides, but that mothers are not being given their legal rights.

“I felt like the employers were saying that the mothers were not speaking up; they are not asking for what they need.  But, we are talking about businesses here, so anytime they can cut costs, they tend to take that,” Majee said.

Majee said the town where he conducted his study reportedly has over 20,000 residents, most of whom work low-paying manufacturing jobs.  Majee said this plays a factor in the disconnect between the mothers and their employers.

“Given that we are talking about low-income communities and people working in low-paying jobs, I think their options are very limited in what they can do here,” Majee said.

He also said the community is taking steps to address the issue. The town as a breastfeeding coalition that works with city council and local government to communicate both employee and employer needs.