Supervisor Resources

As a supervisor, you play an important role in an employee’s successful transition from leave to work.

A supportive environment includes flexible break times, a clean and private space other than a restroom to express milk, and access to information and resources. Employees who continue to express milk after returning to work also need the support of their supervisors, co-workers, and others in the workplace. Click below for more information on how to create this environment.

What to Do Before an Employee’s Leave Starts

Successfully transitioning from home back to work takes careful planning and some adjustment for all involved. To smooth the way prior to an employee’s parental leave, you should:

  • Familiarize yourself with laws and JHU’s policy regarding lactation accommodations.
  • Educate yourself and your employees with JHU’s parental and birth recovery leave policies.
  • Consider the options for a lactation space to accommodate the employee needing to express milk. If one of the current lactation room locations does not work, the Office of Benefits & Worklife can help brainstorm and find the best solution for you and your employee.
  • Think about flexible work arrangements, such as alternative work schedules, part-time employment, flex schedules, work-at-home options, and/or a gradual return to work.
  • Be sensitive to the fact that not everyone will feel comfortable discussing their lactation plan and needs with you or with co-workers. Your divisional HR representative can assist with these conversations.
When the Employee Returns to Work

Once your employee is back at work:

  • Review the schedule and workplace plans. Encourage revisiting the plans after a few weeks to see if any changes need to be made.
  • Confirm that there is a private, clean, secure lactation space for the employee needing lactation accommodations.
  • Refer the employee to Benefits & Worklife with any concerns or questions, or for additional information on the various aspects of the Lactation Support Program.
  • Be sensitive to the privacy of the employee’s situation and needs.
  • Be supportive and flexible: acknowledge how difficult it can be to transition back to work after leave; offer flexibility in scheduling meetings, breaks, and coverage of job responsibilities; and ask your employee for suggestions on how to make this transition easier at Johns Hopkins.

Let everyone in the office know that you and Johns Hopkins support the lactation needs of employees.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention: Workplace Health Resources for Lactation Support

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Supporting Nursing Moms at Work

United States Breastfeeding Committee: Workplace Support in Federal Law


Johns Hopkins strives to use inclusive language in our materials. Though we realize that some organizations listed in our resources have not yet made a similar language shift, we share the links in our effort to provide information useful to our community.