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Thread: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping space

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    23

    Default Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping space

    Hi ladies,

    Thanks to your super help I just found out that due to the Health Care Reform act my employer is required to provide me a private space to pump. (And breaks to do so--but that was never my issue anyway).

    I've pumped at this job before, but that was before the health care reform passed. So I usually used a bathroom (luckily it had benches and a couch so I wasn't perched on a toilet). But the building I'm now working in doesn't have a space that I could pump privately and it looks like my group may be moving to a different building while I am on maternity leave. This was very worrying to me because I will have no time to scope out the lay of the land. So I am super excited that my employer (who is funnily enough the federal government) is required to help me out here.

    Since this law is relatively new I'm 100% certain that my direct supervisor knows nothing about it. I'm not sure about upper level management. I've decided that the best way to approach this will be to compose an email to my supervisor explaining that I will be pumping when I return to work. Include quotes from the health care reform law (and a link to the complete law) which explain that they are required to provide a private space to pump.

    Unfortunately space is at a premium around here and it will probably be difficult to find a private space for me. (Unless I steal some high-level executives office.) Therefore this email is probably going to be forwarded up to who knows how far and I'm having some serious writer's block even getting it started.

    I thought one of you might already have something similar that might help me get started. Any advice or examples? I'm just starting my third trimester and hope to take 8-12 weeks so I'm basically giving them 6 months warning. Is this too early?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    Nak, but what about instead of leading off with the quotes, etc. Just explaining in a friendly way that you will be pumping and you wanted to give them a heads up due to the move and ask where they have for you to pump. Then if they reply with something incompatible you start in with quoting the law....it's better in my opinion to give someone the calculated opportunity to be accommodating first.
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    I would just state that you will be pumping, and ask what space will be available, as though you EXPECT no problems with this idea whatsoever. Cordial and confident. If you cite the law, you are creating an adversarial feeling where currently, there is none. Give your boss the chance to respond cordially and accommodate you before you invoke the law, you know? If your boss says, "sorry, we can't accommodate you," THEN you invoke the law.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,935

    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    with the PPs. Act as if you expect an adversarial response and you're likely to create one.

    How about:

    Dear Mr./Ms. Supervisor's Name,

    I will be returning from my maternity leave on month/day/2011. Since I'm nursing my baby, I will need to have access to a space in which I can pump during my breaks. This space will need to be clean (i.e. not a bathroom!), private, and have an outlet where I can plug in my pump. I know space in our work environment is at a premium, so I'm hoping that we can work together to generate a solution to my needs (and the needs of any other pumping moms) now rather than trying to address it at the last moment, when I'm already back at the office.

    Please give me a call or e-mail me with any questions or concerns, and let me know if I should come in ahead of time to help find a workable space.

    I'm looking forward to getting back to my desk. See you soon!

    Sincerely, etc.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    23

    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    I've spoken with a mom who works in one of the buildings we *may* be moving to. She pumped back in 2009 (before this law passed). The solution that was offered to her was occasional use of a supervisors office while he was off on long-term-training. But whenever the supervisor was in the office she had to go out to her car.

    I've met ~5 women who have pumped at this job and they all used bathrooms, their car, or the rarely available conference rooms (with a chair to block access to the door). Management has usually had no problem providing time for pumping, but has never made any effort to provide space. I think I'm the first person who has been in this situation since the law passed and I don't think that anyone in my working group is aware of it.

    My supervisor and I have a good relationship, and I think that he will be very supportive of me. My initial thought of including verbage from the recently passed law was to give HIM a leg to stand on to help locate a space.

    I don't want to come off as adversarial, which is why I was hoping someone might have a good way of wording this.

    The intent that I want to get across is something like "Hi, I've done this before, and normally wouldn't want to rock the boat. If we still worked in BLDG x I wouldn't even be bothering you with this. But given the uncertainty of our office location and the fact that I know of no available spaces in the buildings we may move to I was hoping you could help me locate a suitable space--or put me in touch with someone who can. And by the way, here's the text from this law "blah blah" that states my employer is required to provide such a location. This should help us to convince the neccessary people."

    Do you ladies still think I shouldn't bring up the law until I receive some sort of opposition?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    Well since you asked for opinions....I think that you avre making excuses for nursing and acting like it's a big request, IMO then your supervisor may think that as that way too. Things like not wanting to rock the boat etc. This is normal and your right, don't start out the gate being shameful about it or wording it like its special treatment. I still think casual and helpful unless you get push back , then site the law. I write a ton of this type stuff ( incidentally so do the other people who agreed in their reply) meaning citing the law, and that's my honest opinion. . Do you want to post your proposed wording?
    Mommy to Maxwell 10-9-07 weaned with love (a party and a remote control monster truck) on his 4th birthday
    My Boy 3-16-10
    And my sweet pea Sam 2-12-11

    Watch Your Language

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    2,944

    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    Had you asked for a place to pump before? I agree with everone else. Just say hey, I'll be back from maternity leave on X date, I will need a place to pump. Hopefully their answer will be as short and sweet as the request. You don't want to come off as a trouble maker.
    Proud mom of 2:
    DD 5/2008 nursed for 3 years and 3 months.
    DS born 8/2011 nursing like a champ

    Sorry for the short responses...always, always, always NAK or holding a baby

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    This is the letter I wrote to HR:

    Hi HR Person,

    I forgot to ask you about this earlier... When I return to work I will still be breastfeeding the baby and I plan on continuing to do so for a while. I will have to express milk once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and at lunch. Where could I do this privately with access to an electrical outlet? Would it be possible to have a shade installed on my office door or could I use the room next to the upstairs ladies room, or even one of the front offices that are empty? Please let me know so that everything is in place for when I return to work.
    Thank you,
    Their response was "Yes we will make accomidations and it will not the the bathroom."

    They were not legally required in any way to provide me with this.
    Proud mom of 2:
    DD 5/2008 nursed for 3 years and 3 months.
    DS born 8/2011 nursing like a champ

    Sorry for the short responses...always, always, always NAK or holding a baby

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    23

    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    By now this is an old thread, but I'm finally getting up the nerve to email my supervisor. (! I don't know why I am being such a wimp about this--I was much more gung-ho and assertive with my first child. This second pregnancy has me feeling so physically/mentally drained. I can hardly function.)

    But back to the point. I found out that I am exempt from FLSA so can't use the healthcare law as a fall-back. Thanks to advice received here I wasn't planning on bringing it up, but I'm still bummed that I don't have that ace in my pocket.

    Here's the email I plan on sending to my boss sometime next week. How does it look?

    Hi <supervisor's first name>,
    With my baby due sometime this month, I anticipate returning to work in September after taking 12 weeks for maternity leave. When I return to work I will still be nursing the baby and I plan on continuing to do so for a while. I will have to express milk once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and at lunch. Where could I do this privately with access to an electrical outlet? I know space in our work environment is at a premium and office space is currently in flux—-we may not even be in this same building when I return! So I’m hoping that we can work together to generate a solution to my needs. I’m also hopeful that we can figure out a workable solution ahead of time so that everything is in place when I get back.
    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Thank you,

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Northern Cal.
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    Default Re: Please help me compose a letter to my boss about the need to provide a pumping sp

    Given your circumstances, I might be more flexible about the "figure out a workable solution ahead of time" issue. I mean, if you might be moving buildings, it may actually be impossible to nail down a space much in advance and you don't want to make any request that sounds unreasonable. What you want is to make your boss aware of the issue, and hopefully get an assurance that they'll work with you when the time comes.

    ETA: So I would say something like, "Given our current situation, I totally understand if you cannot assign a space to me now, but I wanted you to be aware of the issue. We can discuss this in more detail when we have a better idea of our location and layout." or something like that.

    Other than that very tiny issue, it looks great!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

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