Policy Manual

Lactation Policy

Penn is committed to maintaining a family-friendly workplace and supporting the health and well-being of our employees.  The Lactation Support Program was introduced to provide employees with space and time for managing chest/breastfeeding responsibilities at work.

The COVID-19 guidelines outlined on the Creating Nursing and Lactation Space page were developed in consultation with Penn EHRS. These guidelines are consistent with the CDC recommendations.

The following guidelines also comply with the mandates of the Lactation Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as part of the Affordable Care Act.


All full-time and part-time employees are eligible to participate in the Lactation Support Program.


Schools and centers are expected to provide their employees with lactation space if an appropriate personal office space is not available. The space doesn't need to be permanent or on the immediate premises, but it must be a private space and:

  • not a bathroom
  • shielded from view
  • free from intrusion by co-workers and/or the public, with a door that locks from the inside
  • within a 10-minute walk from the employee’s assigned work area, preferably without having to go outdoors, and
  • available close to the times when the employee is likely to need the space

Nursing and lactation space should also be equipped with the following:

  • a comfortable chair (preferably upholstered with arms and back support)
  • a table next to the chair (which should be at least 24” x 24” to accommodate a standard breast pump)
  • an electric outlet near the chair and table
  • a light that’s controllable from inside the room
  • a label or door sign that indicates the space is in use
  • a trash can, and
  • a separation wall, temporary separator, or door that can be used for privacy if the space is being used by more than one employee simultaneously

Schools and Centers

Click here for more tips and guidelines on setting up a lactation space.

Lactation Space Contacts

Contact your school/center’s Human Resource representative or central space management group to help arrange a space or direct you to an existing lactation space.

You can also contact the following resources to help identify a lactation space:

Karen Kille, Senior Worklife Consultant, Human Resources. You can contact her at worklife@hr.upenn.edu or 215-898-7729.

Diane Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FANN, Professor of Perinatal Nursing & The Helen M. Shearer Professor of Nutrition, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Faculty Advisor to Student Nurses at Penn, and Nurse Scientist for the Lactation Program, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), is a national expert on lactation matters and has extensive experience in helping Penn departments set up a lactation space. You can contact her at spatz@nursing.upenn.edu. 


Paid break times are allowed for lactation responsibilities needed by the employee. When possible, breaks should be scheduled during normal break and meal times and/or when workflow allows. Although not a hard-and-fast rule, typically, a 25- to 40-minute break is needed every three to four hours, including time to get to and from the lactation area.

Supervisors should keep in mind that the frequency and duration of breaks vary from parent to parent depending on their physical needs. There may be occasions when an employee will need to handle lactation responsibilities at times not optimally convenient for the office. Supervisors are responsible for creating a supportive environment for employees so they can adequately manage their nursing and lactation responsibilities.


Before your leave begins, work closely with your supervisor and contact your Human Resources representative for your school or center to set up your plan. If you’re not sure who your Human Resources representative is, check with your business administrator.

Click here for a Lactation Plan Document to complete as soon as possible before returning to work.  Human Resources maintains oversight of the campus needs for lactation space. Additionally, this document provides a plan for staff members to follow when stepping away from work (closing a private office door) or from the workplace (using a central nursing and lactation space). It will help you and others affected by your breaks to manage while you are away.

Click here for helpful tips for preparing to return to work and here for community resources to turn to for additional assistance.


The Lactation Support Program is administered by Human Resources/Quality of Work-life.  If you have questions or need assistance, contact Human Resources/Quality of Work-life at 215-898-7372 or contact us online. You can also refer to the additional resources below for more information.

Additional Resources

Plan Document
Where to Find On-Campus Lactation Space
Creating a Lactation Space
Tips for Parents Returning to Work
Resources for Chest/Breastfeeding Parents

Policy Number: 415
Effective Date: 08/05/2019
Last Reviewed Date:  01/26/2021
Revised Date:  07/01/2019, 08/05/2019
Supersedes Policy Number(s): 415 (12/15/2011, 02/02/2012)
Applicability: All full-time and part-time faculty and staff

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