A guide for RCN members on provisions for breastfeeding mothers at work.
Employers of women of childbearing age must assess the risks to the health and safety of breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
While you are breastfeeding, you and your baby have special protection under health and safety law. To make use of this protection, you must inform your employer in writing that you are breastfeeding.
While you are breastfeeding, your employer must consider whether your working conditions are a risk to your health, or the health of your baby. If your working conditions do not support breastfeeding, this could put your baby at risk.
Where there is a risk to your baby, your employer should take certain reasonable steps such as:
If your GP or health visitor advises that your job is too stressful, and that even with temporary adjustments your ability to breastfeed could be put at risk, then your employer should consider a temporary transfer to alternative work.Back to contents
Your employer is legally obliged to provide suitable facilities for breastfeeding mothers to rest, however there is no clear guidance on what these facilities should be. A warm, clean, lockable room would be helpful for expressing milk, and a clean refrigerator and facilities for washing, sterilising and storing receptacles might assist you. It is not always possible to provide all of this, so be as reasonable as possible and work with your employer.
ACAS has produced guidance for employers looking to accommodate breastfeeding in the workplace; this should help you discuss any concerns you have with with your employer.Back to contents
If you are having any difficulties agreeing adjustments with your employer then contact us on 0345 772 6100.Back to contents
Page last updated - 25/01/2018