Short on Funds to Comply with New Pumping at Work Laws? Wellness Dollars to the Rescue
For new parents returning to work after a baby, wellness includes having real choices about their caregiving responsibilities. And for nearly all breastfeeding mothers (97%),¹ the choice is to continue providing breast milk as a main source of nutrition to their babies. So how can you meet their needs and the requirements from the federal PUMP Act on a limited budget? Tap into your wellness dollars – and take your lactation program out of the shadows to showcase it as a point of pride.
Why Wellness Matters to Employees
Wellbeing benefits create a strong bond between an employer and employees. For the Millennial cohort in the midst of growing their families, wellbeing is a key consideration. They rank a people-first culture and work-life balance as the top priorities for employers – even above pay equity and promotion opportunities.²
In 2023, 38% of employers opted to invest more in wellness benefits, representing a 6 point uptick from the previous year. The trend is tied to retention, which is the top priority for both HR and operations leaders – even outranking revenue growth.³
What are Wellness Dollars
Wellness dollars can be an untapped budget resource. These funds are a percentage of a company’s insurance premiums that are held in reserve by health insurance carriers and are available to spend on wellness-related programs benefiting employees. While you may typically associate wellness dollars as funding such “perks” as gym memberships or yoga classes, the funds are also available to help employers achieve compliance with the latest requirements set forth in the PUMP Act for a functional, private lactation space.
Tip: Wellness dollars can go by other names, including wellness credits, health engagement funds, health improvement funds, or wellness reimbursements.
How to Use Your Wellness Dollars
Here’s how to get started researching your options with wellness dollars:
- Connect with your health insurance carrier. Check in with your broker or insurance account manager if wellness dollars are part of your coverage.
- Remember funds don’t carry over. If you have funds available, you’ll want to make a plan to use them before the year ends. Funds do not carry over or accrue. Keep in mind that wellness dollar amounts can vary from year to year.
- Clarify how funds are dispersed. Ask your carrier what’s eligible for coverage and how funds are dispersed.
4 Ways Wellness Dollars Can Cover Lactation-Related Costs
When it comes to compliance with the new federal PUMP Act, a (non-bathroom) lactation space must be designated for pumping milk, free from intrusion and available whenever needed by a pumping employee. But with a few easy, affordable add ons – covered by your wellness dollars – you can take your space from functional to super functional. By doing so, you create a level of employee satisfaction that can improve engagement and retention.
Outfit the space with a top-quality pump. As a one-time purchase, you can add a Symphony® PLUS Breast Pump from Medela. This pump is specially designed for multiple users and employers can stock up on individual kits to disperse as needed. These pumps are a durable, long-lasting investment that employers can add to each lactation space across worksite locations. The pumps are a convenient and supportive resource that save employees time and hassle by not having to transport and set up their own personal pump for each session.
Add thoughtful furnishings and lactation accessories. In addition to access to an electrical outlet, a comfortable chair and a surface to hold the pump, other nice touches include a mirror and hooks to hang clothes. Make the set up and break down easier for your working mothers by including helpful breastfeeding accessories such as sanitizing sprays and disposable nursing pads.
Make storage and clean up easier. Pumping is hard work and time consuming. Use your wellness dollars to add amenities that make storage and clean up more efficient. Consider adding a mini fridge to the space designated just for breast milk storage. Even if you don’t have a sink in the space, you can stock the room with a microwave (preferably 1100W or higher), Medela’s microsteam bags and some water bottles to create a cleaning station where employees can quickly sanitize pump parts after each session.
Offer a 24/7 lactation telehealth service. Breastfeeding and pumping are learned skills that take practice. Questions pop up all the time, especially in the return-to-work phase as parents are establishing new routines. Use your wellness dollars to add a 24/7 telehealth offering that provides in-the-moment access to a lactation or pediatric expert and also helps reduce health-related absences.
Benefits of Allocating Wellness Dollars for Lactation Benefits
- Compliance - With a robust lactation program, you’ll achieve compliance with the PUMP Act and reduce potential legal risks associated with complaints.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion - Show your support for maternal health and gender equity for working moms, who are balancing work and caregiving responsibilities.
- Burnout - Family friendly programs help battle burnout, especially for women, who experienced a burnout rate at nearly double men in a 2022 study⁴
Next Steps for Leveraging Wellness Dollars for Lactation Benefits
Just getting started and aren’t clear yet on the PUMP Act?
Before launching a new lactation program or bolstering an existing one, we suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with the newest federal protections set forth in the PUMP Act. Check out our specially curated resource page to understand how this new federal law impacts your organization.
If you’re already familiar with the PUMP Act requirements
We invite you to reach out to our Kin experts, who have experience working with limited budgets and leveraging wellness dollars to create lasting benefits for your pumping parents. We’re here to help and are passionate about transforming cultures that ease return-to-work experiences for your valued employees.
¹Moms’ Thoughts on Breastfeeding Survey of 2,500 respondents, Medela, October 2022.
²Wong, B., Workplace Benefit Trends by Generation in 2023, Forbes, August 28, 2023.
³2023 U.S. Workforce Trends Report Series: Organizational Wellbeing, Gallagher.
⁴What is Burnout, McKinsey, August 14, 2023.