Breastfeeding babies for their first six-months of their lives and alongside giving them solid foods up until they are two years old is increasingly popuplar. Taking this into account, employers may find that employees who are returning from maternity leave and continuing to breastfeed will need support with incorporating this into their working day.
Pregnancy Related Rights
Under regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are required to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees when they are undertaking work. This includes carrying out a specific pregnancy related risk assessments when an employee notifies you in writing that they are pregnant, breast feeding or has given birth in the last six months.
Other Ways Employers Can Support Their Employees who are Breastfeeding
In addition to carrying out a risk assessment, employers should discuss with their employee other ways in which they can support them whilst they are breastfeeding. This may include:
- Allowing the employee to take extra breaks for them to express milk.
- Providing a clean, warm, and private room where they can express – This should not be a toilet!
- Providing a clean, secure fridge for the expressed milk to be stored.
- Discuss temporary options of flexible working.
Returning to work after having a baby is a nerve wracking times for new mothers, and employers who advocate supporting their employees during this time, should see benefits from this in return. This includes:
- A higher employee return rate post maternity leave, perhaps even an earlier than otherwise return.
- Increased staff morale and loyalty
- Reduced absences
- Lower recruitment and training costs
- An extra incentive to offer potential employees
This can be tricky when you provide childcare for the child who is breastfed. We’ve had questions before as to whether a mother can go to her child for feeds leaving her role in another room. In practice it may be possible for a child to breastfeed her child during her lunch break, but in reality the child will have bottles of mothers breast milk given to it at all other times. If you need any further advice on supporting an employee who is or intends to breastfeed upon returning from maternity leave, please contact us on 01527 909 436.