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 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.
Workplace challenges related to space, time and environmental limitations for milk expression require creative solutions. Space options include setting aside small storage or office areas, or partitioning off small spaces in quieter areas of the plant.
“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, WIC breastfeeding coordinator for the North Georgia Health District. “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 moms in the work environment. Click to view the video on the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website.