Making the case for additional workplace lactation rooms
March 8, 2013 3:25 PM Subscribe
Help me make an argument to my direct boss, and then facilities/HR, about why we should have a per-building lactation room on our three-building work campus (vs. one lactation room in one building).
This is a mid-size, publicly traded company in California. There are around 500 people at one campus, across three buildings. There is a dedicated lactation space in one of the three, which is at most a 5 minute walk from any other site in the other two buildings, although it's across parking lots and up stairs. There's a new mom in my building, and facilities is pushing back on accommodating her with a lactation space in our building. I'm a people-manager within our group, although not this person's direct manager. I am a woman, mom and pumped at work, so I feel that I want to advocate for the new mom. Rather than fight with facilities myself I'm trying to take this up with my direct boss (a VP whom she indirectly reports to). He's generally supportive but has been playing devil's advocate about why the space in the other building isn't sufficient.
I don't think it's a legal issue where the company isn't meeting their obligations. There also aren't many women pumping at work, so far as I can tell, so the one room/500 people thing might not be a strong argument. We have not yet heard of scheduling conflicts. My boss basically doesn't buy that the extra minutes of walking add up to more value in saved time than the cost of building a new space. I've tried to make the argument that more than saving this person the 20 extra person-minutes a day of walking you're showing her you value and support her, and perhaps that retains her in the long term. Plus you're showing your future-mom employees that you support their parenting choices. But I feel I'm not being articulate - what else can I add? The closest thing I've come up to an argument that he's bought is to ask, if the bathrooms all burned down, would he expect everyone to happily walk to the next building three times a day, every day, indefinitely.
I'm kind of upset about this and probably not writing clearly, but will be back later tonight if any questions come up. We are going to talk more on Monday. I'd be interested in any thoughts, or if this really isn't that big a deal. It's also a bit unclear how big a deal it is to the actual employee, and I'm planning to clarify with her how she feels before making this into a larger issue.