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Breast Feeding and the Workplace

Publication cover - Breastfeeding in the WorkplaceCover image for Breastfeeding in the WorkplaceIn 2007 Congress published guidelines to your entitlements to Breastfeeding in the Workplace.

In Ireland, entitlement to Lactation or Breastfeeding breaks for working mothers, is up to 26 weeks after the date of confinement (estimated delivery date). Mothers returning to work after this time period do not have a legal entitlement to breastfeeding break. Mothers returning to work must negotiate arrangements with management, with no definite outcome.  The exception is the Civil Service as civil service unions successfully negotiated an entitlement to lactation breaks for female employees up until their child's 2nd birthday, to bring it into line with Department of Health and Children best evidence based recommendations for breastfeeding. This is the only sector of the workforce where this exists. 

We have continually made the case for an extension of the period unfortunately with no success so far.   See communication making the case for an extension to the period from Siobhan Hourigan, National Breastfeeding Co-ordinator Health Promotion & Improvement Health & Well-being Division.

The forthcoming Family Leave Bill, provides an opportunity to extend the entitlement to lactation breaks until an infant's first birthday.  More information here

Maternity Action (UK NGO) guide for Employers in Accommodating Breast Feeding on return to work