Workplace Lactation Policy

Washington University is committed to supporting employees who choose to breastfeed or express milk during work hours.  The University provides multiple appropriate locations and a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate employees who are nursing mothers for a period of up to 12 months after this birth of the nursing child.

Ideally, the time will run concurrently with an employee’s paid break time.  The University will make separate or additional time available if it is not possible for the lactation time to run concurrently with the employee’s existing paid break time, but the additional break time may be unpaid.

It is assumed that University operations will not be seriously disrupted by providing lactation time to the employee.

Lactation Locations

  1. The University provides appropriate and accessible space to the employee to breastfeed or express milk in private.
  2. The location may be where the employee normally works if there is adequate privacy to perform the activity, such as the employee’s private office or another private area in the workspace.
  3. Areas such as restrooms or non-private cubicles are not considered appropriate spaces for lactation purposes.
  4. The University has designated locations through campus as “Lactations Rooms.”  The map of these designated locations can be found at
  5. When necessary, appropriate space may be temporarily designated as a Lactation Location for the required period of time.  If business operations preclude the full-time designation of a Lactation Location, the Lactation Location may be designated and appropriately marked only during the time when it is in use for lactation purposes. 

Expectations of Employee(s)

  1. Employees shall plan and organize their time to meet the job responsibilities established by their supervisor.
  2. Employees are still expected to complete the required number of hours in a workweek, unless otherwise agreed to by their supervisor.
  3. Employees accommodated under this policy are responsible for cleaning the Lactation Location after each use.

Expectations of Supervisor(s)

  1. Supervisors shall ensure accommodations are administered consistently, equitably, and fairly.
  2. Supervisor’s shall respond to lactation requests promptly and ensure that lactation-requesting employees do not suffer negative consequences as a result of the lactation request.
  3. Supervisors shall be flexible in allowing requesting employees to select appropriate times to use an identified Lactation Location on campus, including allowing the employee time to travel to and from the closest Lactation Location to the employee’s work area.
  4. A supervisor cannot refuse to grant a lactation request unless s/he can establish, in writing, that operations would be seriously disrupted by providing lactation time to the applicable employee in accordance with applicable laws.
  5. Any intent to refuse requests for break time for the purpose of lactation must be reviewed with WUSM Human Resources prior to communicating the decision to the employee.


To the extent allowed by federal law and University policy, lactation requests will be handled confidentially.  Only individuals with a business “need to know” will be made aware of a lactation request and the resulting arrangements.