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Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace

Being a breastfeeding friendly workplace is an investment in the health of the workforce of today and in the future. Employers who support their breastfeeding employees reap many benefits.

 

Taking the step forward…

The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that employers are required to accommodate women who are breastfeeding, unless meeting their needs is extremely costly or creates serious health and safety hazards.

What are the benefits for the employer?

  • Less absenteeism (due to healthier babies)
  • Less staff turnover
  • Improved employee productivity
  • Improved employee morale and satisfaction

Making Positive Changes

Education and Skill-Building

  • Provide information to all employees about the importance of breastfeeding.
  • Educate management about the importance of breastfeeding and ensure the organizational breastfeeding policy is available to provide support and flexibility for the breastfeeding employee.
 

Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding Resources & Topics

Find more →

 

Environmental Support

  • Encourage positive attitudes among employees and management regarding combining breastfeeding and work.
  • Designate a clean, comfortable and private space within or near the workplace for women to breastfeed or express breastmilk. This should not be the bathroom.  The designated space should include:
    • Comfortable chair with supportive arms
    • Small table and electrical outlet for those who use an electric pump
    • Baby-changing station and hand-washing facilities
    • Appropriate signage to ensure privacy
  • Provide access to a refrigerator for storage of expressed breastmilk.
  • Consider purchasing or renting an electric breast pump (this reduces pumping time)
  • Provide work-based child care or assistance with finding child care nearby.
  • Encourage development of a network of women who can support breastfeeding employees.

Policy Considerations

  • Develop a workplace breastfeeding policy for employees (Sample Policy)
  • Provide information about breastfeeding policy and rights to women before maternity leave.
  • Offer flexible breaks to accommodate pumping/breastfeeding (the International Labour Organization recommends two additional 30-minute breaks in an eight-hour shift).
  • Provide phase back options, working at home, flex-time, part-time and/or job-sharing options.
  • Make extended maternity leave available.
 
Date of creation: January 9, 2013
Last modified on: September 9, 2020
 

References

1Canadian Paediatric Society's Nutrition and Gastroenterology Committee (CPS), Dietitians of Canada (DC), Breastfeeding Committee for Canada (BCC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and Health Canada (HC). (2015-08-18). Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months. Retrieved from
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/index-eng.php
2Ontario Human Rights Commission (2014). Policy on preventing discrimination because of pregnancy and breastfeeding Retrieved from
http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-discrimination-because-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
3Ontario Public Health Association (2008). Creating a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace. Toronto, ON: Ontario Public Health Association. Retrieved from
https://opha.on.ca/OPHA/media/Resources/Resource%20Documents/BreastfeedingFriendlyWorkplace-Sep08.pdf?ext=.pdf