The Barton County Commission Monday morning approved an update to the county’s employee handbook to better accommodate mothers who are breast feeding.
County Administrator Richard Boeckman told the commission federal law has changed with the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Now, employees must be provided a private location at their worksite for .
The approval paves the way for the Barton County Health Department to apply for a grant that can at least partially cover the cost of necessary work. Two small witness rooms on the fourth floor of the courthouse will be made into one, larger room and retrofitted to meet the needs of women who are nursing.
The Health Department’s Janel Rose said the $500 grant would come from the Kansas Breast Feeding Coalition. It can be used for furnishings as well as construction expenses.
It was noted that county employees could do most of the work.
However, Boeckman said, even after the conversion, the room can still be used by the 20th Judicial District when needed. In fact, he said, the remodeling will make the space more functional.
As for the law, Rose said every employer must make such accommodations. But it especially impacts entities that employ 50 or more people.
As much as she said she dislikes unfunded mandates, commissioner Jennifer Schartz said she was a former breast-feeding mother and this idea was long overdue. “This is something that is really needed. It’s a family issue.”
Boeckman said this was one of several handbook updates that will come before the commission in then next few weeks.