Report on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
22 July 2008
Media Release: Report on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
``Legislating breaks and facilities for breastfeeding is just fantastic,’’ says Louise James, Breastfeeding Advocate for Women’s Health Action. ``But who is going to tell the mother she can, show her the facilities and make sure it happens? We believe many employers will hide behind the what’s ‘reasonable and practicable’ clause’’.
``Considering the opposition we saw from employers to legislate a few minimal breaks, what chance will a mother have to breastfeed when there is no legal provision for paid time for her?’’
Women’s Health Action, on the basis of international best practice submitted an amendment to have as a minimum, two half hour paid breaks in an eight hour day. ``With so many women of reproductive age in the workforce, New Zealand businesses need to embrace breastfeeding support. Breastfeeding provision in workplaces is an important health measure for both mothers and babies and New Zealand is in desperate need of real changes’’.
Women’s Health Action has initiated work to develop an achievable standard and certify workplaces as being ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’. This will raise the bar so that mothers are able to deliver to both their families and their employers and are not put in the position where they are forced to choose between paid employment and breastfeeding.