4-56: Lactation in the Workplace Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes the parameters that Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) will follow for nursing mothers on campus.

Scope and Applicability

This policy outlines the guidelines for nursing mothers while on the SFCC campus and applies to all students, employees, volunteers and visitors.

Policy Statement

SFCC recognizes the health, family, and societal benefits of breastfeeding children. It supports all students and employees who choose to continue breastfeeding their children after they return to school or work, whether they be birth mothers, non-birth mothers, or transgender parents. The decision to continue to breastfeed when returning to school or work often depends upon the availability of a suitable place to pump or nurse and the time to do it. For these reasons, and in order to comply with federal and state law, SFCC provides lactation rooms and reasonable break periods for breastfeeding. For employees, these break periods are considered paid time. SFCC respects the right of a parent to choose to publicly breastfeed a child, and offers this policy to support the choice of private breastfeeding.


  1. Breastfeeding Means pumping or expressing milk as well as nursing directly from the breast.
  2. Employee is any member of the college workforce: all staff (regular full-time, regular part-time, term, temporary, probationary, sensitive position); all student employees; all faculty (full-time, part-time, adjunct, probationary); all administrators, including interim; all contract employees.
  3. Lactation Room Means a clean, comfortable and private room containing a supportive chair, a table, an easily accessible and functioning electrical outlet, and a door that can be locked from the inside. SFCC-designated lactation rooms do not include bathroom stalls or locker rooms.

Policy Process

  1. Roles in Requesting and Accommodating Breastfeeding
    Breastfeeding mothers may not be asked to provide medical documentation to prove the need to breastfeed their children absent manifest indication of fraud. Students and employees are responsible for clearly informing their instructors or supervisors that they need breaks for breastfeeding and for using breastfeeding breaks in an appropriate manner. The Office of the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and the Office of Human Resources can provide guidance to supervisors and instructors on breastfeeding breaks.
  2. Students
    Students planning to breastfeed should use best efforts to do so around their scheduled class times to the extent possible. Faculty are strongly encouraged to accommodate lactation, but are not required to excuse tardiness or absences due to students’ lactation needs, except in cases where a class time or class activity exceeds two hours. For students whose classes are distant from one of the lactation stations, academic departments should try to locate a suitable lactation room by consulting with Plant Operations and Maintenance or the Dean, Chair or designee.
  3. Employees
    Employees must provide their supervisor with written notice (email is sufficient) that they foresee an ongoing need to use a lactation room. At their discretion, employees may take reasonable lactation breaks during work hours for breastfeeding for up to one year after a child’s birth (and longer with supervisory approval). Supervisors and employees should work together to establish reasonable, flexible, and mutually agreeable times each day that do not unduly disrupt normal business activities, instruction, scheduled class time, clinical time or other services. Employees who are nursing their children and who work in settings where infants are allowed may choose to have their infants brought to and from the workplace to be nursed during lactation breaks. For employees who do not have private offices, or who work in areas where infants are not permitted or that are unsafe for infants, supervisors should make reasonable efforts to provide a private room for nursing. Employees also may use SFCC’s lactation rooms for nursing.
  4. Reasonable Lactation Breaks
    Employees may take lactation breaks during authorized work or lunch breaks already provided under other policies, requirements, or agreements. However, if such breaks are inadequate or impractical, supervisors must provide separate or extended paid time for lactation breaks.Some of the factors to consider in determining whether the time needed for a breastfeeding employee to express milk is “reasonable” include:

    1. The time it takes to walk to and from the lactation room and the wait, if any, to use the space.
    2. Whether the employee has to retrieve a pump and other supplies from another location.
    3. Whether the employee will need to unpack and set up a pump or if a pump is provided in the space.
    4. The efficiency of the pump used to express milk (employees using different pumps may require more or less time).
    5. Whether there is a sink and running water nearby for the employee to use to wash hands before pumping and to clean the pump attachments when done expressing milk or what additional steps will be needed to maintain the cleanliness of the pump attachments.
    6. The time it takes for the employee to store milk in a refrigerator or personal cooler.
  5. Lactation Rooms
    1. The location of lactation rooms shall be posted prominently on the student/employee portal and elsewhere to sufficiently inform the SFCC community.
    2. When a designated lactation room is not available in a building, temporary “in-use” signage can be provided to breastfeeding students and employees for vacant rooms that meet the requirements of a lactation room, such as a private office or an infrequently used conference room.
    3. Designated lactation rooms may have mini-refrigerators that can be used for the storage of breast milk. Academic and administrative departments are encouraged to provide space in existing refrigerators for the storage of breast milk.

Statement of Accountability and Responsibility

The President, through the Executive Director of Human Relations and Professional Development/Equal Employment Opportunity Officer and the Office of Human Resources, shall be responsible for enforcing human resources policies and procedures. The Office of Human Resources shall work with the different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness, prevention, and remediation.


Fair Labor Standards Act 29 USC § 207(r)(1)-(4)

NMSA 1978, § 28-20-1

NMSA 1978, § 28-20-2


SFCC Governing Board approved: 2/28/18