The Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program was established in accordance with state legislation in 1995 and continues as an ongoing program. The MFWP is an employer recognition program that designates worksites as “Mother-Friendly” if they voluntarily develop and submit to Department of State Health Services (DSHS) a written policy that supports employees’ efforts to combine continued breastfeeding with employment. At a minimum, the policy must ensure:
- Flexible work scheduling to allow time for breast milk expression,
- Access to private locations for breast milk expression,
- Access to a clean, safe water source to wash hands and clean pumping equipment, and
- Access to hygienic options for workplace storage of expressed breast milk.
This intervention functions at two levels: at the state-level and at the worksite level. DSHS provides resources and support to worksites wanting to be designated and the worksites must implement their individual plans for achieving and sustaining designation.
In 2010, the Texas DSHS received Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) funds. The intent of the CPPW initiative – called the Mother Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative (MFWPI) – was to transform and expand the MFWP’s capacity, scale, and reach to increase employer uptake of comprehensive worksite lactation support policies and programs. With CPPW funding, the Department was able to apply the social marketing process to implement a multi-component initiative including formative assessment, pilot-testing, media and communications, state program enhancements, and strategic partnership development. Lessons learned from the MFWPI continue to be integrated into the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program. This template reflects the MFW Program now being implemented with lessons incorporated from MFW Policy Initiative.
Time in the field: The Texas Health and Safety Code establishing the “mother-friendly” designation was passed into law and, in 1995, the Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite Program was launched. Program administration rules were formalized in the Texas Administrative Code in 2001. Texas’ Mother Friendly Worksite Program transformation through the Mother- Friendly Worksite Policy Initiative (MFWPI) has been in process since 2010.
Intended population(s) to be impacted by the program: At the state level, the primary audience is employers/worksites; at the worksite level, the primary audience is new and expectant mothers.
Primary setting(s) intended to adopt the program: The state must adopt a policy and/or a program that specifies criteria for recognizing employers that create worksite cultures supportive of breastfeeding. Worksites then demonstrate that they have met the criteria for designation.