Shaw Industries presented with Georgia Lactation Support award

The Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition has recognized Shaw Industries and its facilities in Calhoun, Georgia with the 2014 Georgia Breastfeeding Business Award for Lactation Support. This award acknowledges breastfeeding-friendly employers who establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality lactation support in the workplace.

       Shaw’s manufacturing plants in Calhoun were nominated for the award by community members statewide, and the plants received more community member votes from the Dalton-Calhoun area than from any other part of the state.

     Human resources managers, nurses, and supervisors understand the need to comply with the guidelines for breastfeeding mothers returning to work under the 2010 revisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)*. Shaw plant managers exceeded guideline expectations by setting up lactation rooms in several plants very quickly and efficiently, often utilizing creative solutions.

     Manufacturing corporations use many creative solutions to support nursing mothers while addressing unique workplace challenges related to space and time limitations. Their solutions deal with environmental hazards, inflexible breaks, and limited space for milk expression. Space options include setting aside small storage areas or office space, or constructing small spaces in quieter areas of the plant. Partitions and other barriers can be used to create private single-user or multi-user spaces.

      “Balancing work and family is both important and challenging,” said Paul Richard, vice president of human resources for Shaw Industries. “Shaw is pleased to support our associates who are also nursing moms. They tell us it really helps in the transition back to the workplace, which can be critical to our efforts to support the talented women in our workforce.”

      The North Georgia Health District Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program contributed to the Shaw lactation rooms by donating breastfeeding resource materials for each room and wall posters that promote breastfeeding as the cultural norm.

     The district WIC program is also providing double electric pumps to mothers returning to work who are exclusive breastfeeding moms, and the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition has provided permanent double electric pumps for the lactation rooms.

     “Breastfeeding-friendly businesses that give moms time to pump without interruption and that make breastfeeding the norm are successfully making it easier for these moms to return to work,” said Carol Hendrix, health district WIC breastfeeding coordinator. “Plus, it’s been proven that breastfed babies and their mothers are generally healthier, which is an obvious win-win for both the employee and the employer.”

     Hendrix and Shaw Industries associates are featured in a video discussing the lactation support program for nursing women on the website for the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The link to the video is www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/employer-solutions/industry/manufacturing.php.

     For more information on how businesses can establish breastfeeding-friendly programs and policies in the workplace, click on the Office on Women’s Health website at www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/employer-solutions/index.php or log onto the Georgia Breastfeeding Coalition website at www.georgiabreastfeedingcoalition.org/business-case-for-breastfeeding.

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*Fact Sheet #73: Break Time for Nursing Mothers under the FLSA http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm

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