Milk Stork seeks to soar to 1,000 employers in 2020

Companies that offer benefits to working mothers encourage loyalty from female employees.
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Breast milk shipping company Milk Stork had a busy 2019 and 2020 will be another full year for this unique employee benefit provider.

Milk Stork was able to increase its footprint with U.S. employers by 50% in 2019 from 2018 and also launched its international pump and check option. This enables refrigerated breast milk to be packed in any overseas hotel room and checked as luggage on the flight home.

CEO Kate Torgersen started the company after a grueling business trip in which she needed to figure out how to pump and store milk for her twins while traveling. Milk Stork has shipped over 3 million ounces of breast milk since the organization was founded in 2015.

For employers, offering out of the box benefits is a strong attraction and retention tool for workers who are increasingly looking for benefits that will help alleviate the stressors in their lives.

Indeed, benefits that specifically target working mothers can have a profound impact. About 37% of breastfeeding moms will leave the workforce due to lack of support, according to data from the National Business Group on Health. When women are able to breastfeed for one additional month, it can result in $4,000 in reduced healthcare claims, according to Health Policy and Planning research. Additionally, employers will realize $3 return on investment for every $1 spent on lactation support, according to a report from the American Journal of Health Promotion.

Milk Stork is offered by more than 650 employers and by 30% of the organizations named on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2019. Hilton, Zillow Group, Adobe, and Dentons, one of the world’s largest law firms, all offer employees the service.

Torgersen connected with Employee Benefit News to discuss the success Milk Stork had in 2019 and what they have planned in 2020.

What kind of year did Milk Stork have in 2019?
We onboarded an incredible amount of companies and have doubled our client base. We’re really supporting a wide variety of companies too and that means so many working moms are getting support.

We launched the international pump and check in 2019, which is an incredible way to support moms on a longer trip. It’s one thing to travel on a business trip that’s a couple of hundred miles from home, but it’s another thing to cross an ocean and needing to bring your milk back.

What can we expect from Milk Stork in 2020?
We’re going to bring on even more clients and expand into even more industries. We can expect to get close to 1,000 clients in 2020. We’ll also be doing a lot of great partnerships with other brands and other providers in the space. Working with best in class providers is a great way to ensure employees are getting the absolute best value benefits.

Is there a specific employer space that you want to break into with this benefit?
There’s industries where there’s a lot of opportunity for us to support working women. I would love to be able to support an airline and those women who are traveling constantly. Airlines have a high population of female employees. That’s an industry that we look at and think there’s a lot of women to support there.

There are industries out there that don’t know this is a pain point for moms. One of the great things that happened in 2019 is that we’ve really raised awareness about what it is like to be a working mom and what the challenges of breastfeeding are. It’s every three hours that you have to pump. Some industries have a greater awareness of it than others.

What benefits should employers focus on going into 2020 as it relates to working moms?
Employers should be thinking about the whole first year that women come back to work after having a child, from the moment they are filing paperwork to go out on maternity leave to welcoming them back into the workplace and making sure moms are informed and have resources.

I hope that we will continue to see a rise in the number of weeks offered for maternity leave. It’s a prediction and a wish that we’ll see more paid leave more readily available to more women. [I also hope] we’ll see male employees have greater access to paid leave as well, and we’ll actually see men feeling empowered to take that leave. There’s also a lot of excitement and energy around child care benefits. We’ll start seeing some good options there, child care is such a huge issue.

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