The New Zealand workforce is changing and women are increasingly returning to work following the birth of a baby.
By law, as far as is reasonable and practicable, employers are required to give employees breaks to breastfeed or express milk at work, and to provide them with facilities to do so. These breaks can be unpaid.
Putting in place practical steps to help women to continue to breastfeed their babies or express breast milk when they return to work makes good business sense.
Your business can save money by retaining valuable employees who might otherwise decide to leave. This can save on recruitment and training costs.
Less absenteeism boosts productivity
Babies who are breastfed get sick less often and working mothers take fewer days off to care for them. An American study of two corporations showed 50 percent fewer sick days for parents of breastfed babies than for bottle-fed babies. Retaining trained staff and good staff morale also boosts productivity.
Helps company image
Supporting working mothers and family-friendly measures can enhance your company’s image. The mothers are likely to be more productive, happier, and less likely to resign, and help improve your company image in the community.
Be known as a good place to work
Providing family-friendly measures can also directly increase the pool of potential staff that your business might not otherwise attract. This is particularly important in a tight labour market.
The Department of Labour has information about breaks and facilities for breastfeeding, including the resource A Guide for Employers: Breastfeeding in the workplace (PDF, 318 KB).
Women’s Health Action has developed a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace website.
- Breastfeeding: Everyone benefits (International Baby Food Action Network website)
- Breastfeeding Friendly Employer Project (Vermont Department of Health website)
- Breastfeeding: Employment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website)
- Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces (Australian Breastfeeding Association)
- Maternity Convention 183 (International Labour Organisation website)