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Infant Feeding

Published 01 Apr 2009

(Source DOL)

The Employment Relations Act requires employers to provide appropriate facilities and breaks for employees who wish to breastfeed (including expressing breast milk), as far as is reasonable and practicable. In determining what is reasonable and practicable, employers will be able to take into account their operational environment and resources. The breaks are unpaid unless the employee and employer agree otherwise.
  • An employer must ensure, as far as reasonably practicable in the "circumstances", that appropriate facilities and breaks are provided for an employee who wishes to breastfeed or express milk at work.
  • The "circumstances" include the operational environment and resources of an employer, and appear to be aimed at the ability of an employer to provide appropriate facilities for breastfeeding. Therefore, the obligations on a small employer could be different to those required of a large employer.
  • Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, the breastfeeding breaks are in addition to the entitlement to rest and meal breaks.
Where an employer and employee agree, however, the rest and meal breaks can also be used as breastfeeding breaks.