Do I have a right to breastfeed at work?


Many women need or want to return to work when their child is still breastfeeding or receiving breastmilk, but are unsure how to deal with this in the workplace.
Breastfeeding is a protected ground of discrimination. It is unlawful to discriminate against a woman who chooses to breastfeed at work (which includes the act of expressing milk). Discrimination can range from colleagues making derogatory comments about breast milk stored in a work fridge to a manger refusing an employee’s request to take a break to express milk. Not providing adequate breaks or facilities can not only constitute discrimination but may also be a breach of work health and safety laws.

An employer can beset support employees who are breastfeeding by making sure they have suitable facilities available – including a private room for breastfeeding, somewhere where the employee can store a breast pump, and a fridge where they store any breast milk.

Employers can also best minimise their exposure to any legal risks by have strong workplace policies and ensuring all staff are educated as to their obligations.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association can help with developing policies that support breastfeeding women in the workplace.

And here is a good factsheet from the Australian Breastfeeding Association about your breastfeeding rights at work.