I WOH full-time and have to pump twice a day at work. My workplace has over 50 employees and is therefore bound by the new workplace pumping law (plus MN already has a state law that they're bound by, too - "The employer must make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The employer would be held harmless if reasonable effort has been made."). The only designated pumping rooms on the premises are over in a different building, so in order to use them I have to go down 3 floors, through a short tunnel, through building B, and up the elevator to the 3rd floor of building C. And the "designated rooms" are whatever patient rooms happen to be empty at the moment, and you have to let the nurses know when you're going to use one and when you're done with it. Right now I'm pumping wherever I can find an empty office in my building but they're few and far between. Should I talk to HR about getting a designated room in my building, or are the "designated rooms" over in the next building considered a reasonable effort and I'm SOL? It kinda sounds like a no-brainer now that I've written it out, but I'd actually kinda feel guilty about taking a whole room to myself just to pump since I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in the building that would use it. WWYD?
Single mom to 3 boys
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I know my vote will not be popular here, but I have learned not to make waves with HR. They are not there to help the employee, they are there to make sure the company isn't giving out anything extra and is protected from lawsuits. If nobody is harrassing you about taking the time to find an empty office or walk to the other building, just do what you need to do to feed your baby and keep your job.
Of course, the argument is that if everyone did this, then we would have hardly any rights.
Sometimes you have to prioritize your own family and finances first, though, in order to accomplish anything. Personally, I would not pick fights with HR, unless you don't really need this job.
Have you asked about this before? What's the overall feeling you get about support within the workplace? I used to work in HR and I will agree that the notion that HR is there to advocate for employee rights is incorrect: they work for the employer to ensure 1. compliance and 2. competitiveness, both in the most cost effective form available. Having pumping rooms can do that - but it's worth having a sense of how much this employer cares about those goals versus the cost aspect. Really, that's regardless of whether what they are doing is technically legal or not, because realistically, if you make waves with an employer who is going to react poorly, then they can always find a way to make employment end.
Could you approach it in a time-saving way? That you do have a pumping arrangement that works, and you're grateful for the accomodation that they've made for you, but a place to pump in your own building would save time and make the break to pump less disruptive?
Is there a space in your building that you've scoped out? Is there a meeting room that is not always in use? Personally, I'd even be happy in a supply closet, as long as I could slap a note on the door and lock it behind me for 10-15 minutes. I think if you approach it in a friendly way (espeically if you've basically worked it all out and they'd just need to okay it), they might be willing to help you and if not, you'd be in the same position you are now.
, mama to Amelie (May 2010), early loss (October 2011), and James (September 2012)
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