At Your Service

November 3, 2013 | CUNY Matters, The University

Making Room for Nursing Mothers

Working women whose children are breastfeeding typically need to express milk while at the office.  It is certainly a nurturing process. But many are far more comfortable if they have privacy.

That’s why the City University of New York incorporated a “Mothers’ Room,” for nursing mothers into the design of its new 42nd Street location. It has a comfortable chair, sink, a cabinet for storage and a refrigerator. CUNY Law School also has a Mothers’ Room.

If you are a nursing mother and would like to have a separate Mothers’ Room where you work at CUNY, you may want to chat with your Human Resources Office about the viability of setting one up.

University policy states that colleges are re

quired to “make reasonable efforts to make a room or other space available, near the work area, where an employee can express milk in privacy.”

In 2007, a state law was enacted requiring employers to permit nursing mothers to use “reasonable unpaid break time,” or “paid break time or meal time” each day to express breast milk at work for a period of up to three years following childbirth.

CUNY has underscored the importance of this law by making it University policy at its colleges. The policy adds that if an employee does not have break periods, she may choose to extend her day to make up for the time spent expressing breast milk.

Leaves for Medical and Family Needs

CUNY prides itself on family friendly polices, such as the one regarding nursing mothers. Another family friendly policy is the “Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Policy.”   The policy provides eligible employees  with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to balance the demands of the workplace with family needs. The CUNY FMLA policy adopts the provisions of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and extends those provisions to cover domestic partner relationships.

This type of leave might be needed for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, childbirth and the care of a newborn, child care needs in the year following an adoption or foster care placement, care for a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent with a serious health condition or an employee’s own health condition. The policy is very specific and also contains provisions related to military-service issues regarding an employee’s relatives.

Details should be discussed with your human resources office.

For more information please visit: search.cuny.edu “Leaves”

Medical Insurance Options

The change in the American insurance landscape, colloquially known as “Obamacare,” has been very much in the news these days. Sometimes, though, the “big” stories obscure the smaller details important to employees. For example, CUNY is required by law to “notify employees of coverage options” available through the Affordable Care Act.

In other words, if you are a CUNY employee you need to know whether or not there is something out there that is better than what you receive now. Employees not eligible for health insurance through CUNY should look into the various options available through the state’s Official Health Care Marketplace, which can be viewed at: www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov

Under the individual mandate, coverage will be required for most people, and there are penalties for not signing up for coverage.

It’s complicated. For help with this please contact your human resources officer.