Nissan is the latest company to jump on the burgeoning breast milk shipping trend.
The automobile company will expense breast milk shipments through Milk Stork, a breast milk shipping company, to new mothers on assignment.
The employee benefit kicked in at the beginning of the month, but the company publicly announced the offering to coincide with Mother’s Day, according to Nissan.
“We went as quick as we can because this is relevant. There are moms everywhere who are in this situation,” says Michelle Baron, vice president of human resources at Nissan North America. “Now, these people have a really cool option.”
Through Milk Stork, bottles and a breast pump will be waiting for employees once they arrive at their destination. Nursing mothers place the milk in a pharmaceutical-grade cooler, which has an internal mechanism that, once activated, keeps its contents chilled for up to 72 hours, according to Nissan. The milk is then shipped overnight.
“I wish I had this 18 years ago,” says Baron, a mother of two teenagers.
Only 1% of companies offered breast milk shipment in 2017, according to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Report, which has the most recent statistics available.
Nissan says it’s the first automotive company to offer this benefit, which costs $100 per shipment. The company decided to add it to the benefits package after the Nissan Alliance of Parents, an employee-led resource group, proposed the idea.
The breast milk shipping benefit is intended to improve Nissan’s retention rates, Baron says.
“Are we offering them the culture and the environment and the benefits so they can stay with us?” she asks. “As important as recruiting is, I have more attention, or as much attention, on how I retain.”
The company employs about 22,500 employees in the United States and Canada and uses its benefits package to improve its workers’ work-life balance, including for new parents.
Beyond breast milk shipments, Nissan also offers flexible work schedules, mother’s pumping rooms in the office, a parking pass for expecting mothers and “welcome back kits” for new parents, which include information on building resources and contact information of other parents who are willing to mentor or connect with new parents. Additionally, expecting parents enrolled in Nissan’s Healthy Maternity Management Program are eligible to receive money toward the purchase of a car seat and a free breast pump.
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