What if I have a problem?

  • You have the right to ask for support and your employer should respond positively.
  • Under the Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008 (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2008/0058/latest/whole.html), employers are required, so far as reasonable and practicable in the circumstances, to provide appropriate facilities and breaks to an employee who wishes to breastfeed either at work or in work time.
  • If your employer does not allow you any or some of your requests/entitlements put your request to them in writing and ask for a written response.
  • Seek advice from your organisation’s Grievance Officer, EEO Manager or externally (try your union, the Human Rights Commission, Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces team, Working Women’s Resource Centre, or Community Legal Centre). They may be able to give you advice on dealing with the issue yourself or may be able to talk to your employer on your behalf. Sometimes it may simply need some creative solutions to balance both your needs and the needs of the employer, and sometimes a simple phone call to your employer to remind them of their legal obligations will be enough to make sure you get your entitlements.
  • If you feel harassed or discriminated against, keep a log or diary of all incidents. Wherever possible talk to the person or people involved first and try to resolve the issue. If that doesn’t work or isn’t possible, talk to your direct manager and/or the Human Resource manager. Find out if your workplace has a policy to deal with workplace grievances.
  • If internal methods are not successful you can get help from your union, Human Rights Commission, or Community Legal Centre.
  • Remember that it is unlawful for you to be bullied, harassed or discriminated against because you breastfeed as well as it being unlawful for you to be harassed or discriminated against for standing up for your rights.

LEGISLATION

Breastfeeding and working is protected through legislation in New Zealand. The Employment Relations Amendment Act 2008 give employees the right to breaks and appropriate facilities where possible to breastfeed or express milk for their baby. And Human Rights Law in New Zealand gives women the right to breastfeed or express milk at work. There is further information on the legislation in New Zealand in this section of the website.

Employment NZ provide a simple guide for Employer's about breastfeeding in the workplace (https://www.employment.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/tools-and-resources/publications/breastfeeding-in-the-workplace-guide-for-employers.pdf) and there is further information on the Employment NZ website (https://www.employment.govt.nz/hours-and-wages/breaks/breastfeeding-at-work/)

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

Human Rights Act 1993

Breastfeeding women have the right to breastfeed or express breast milk at work. Employers are required to find ways for employees to do their job and have regular breaks to breastfeed or express milk. Treating a woman unfairly because she is breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is a form of sex discrimination.

More information can be found on Human Rights Commission website (https://www.hrc.co.nz/your-rights/social-equality/our-work/right-breastfeed/) and this flyer (https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/5314/2378/0071/14-Dec-2005_16-09-38_breastfeeding_flyer_English.pdf)

 

RELEVANT LEGIALTION

Section 69Y Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008

The Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding, and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2008/0058/latest/whole.html requires employers to provide appropriate facilities and breaks for employees who wish to breastfeed either at the workplace or during a work period, as far as it is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. The amendment balances the need to support the choices of employees, particularly regarding their work-life balance and caring responsibilities, with the operational requirements of New Zealand businesses.


The Code of Employment Practice on Infant Feeding

The Code of Employment Practice on Infant Feeding (https://www.employment.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/tools-and-resources/publications/code-of-employment-practice-on-infant-feeding.pdf) assists employers who want to know how to meet their obligations under the Act. Appropriate facilities, the nature of breaks, accommodating changes to meet circumstances and documenting arrangements, are all detailed in the Code.

 

Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007

The Employment Relations Amendment Act (http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2016/0009/11.0/DLM6774103.html) provides employees who have been with their employer for 6 months or more and have young or dependent children the right to request part-time and flexible hours and the employer has a duty to seriously consider such requests. 



Useful Support Organisations

Breastfeeding Workplace Team (https://www.womens-health.org.nz/programmes/breastfeeding-activities/workplaces/)

Diversity Works NZ (Formerly EEO Trust) https://diversityworksnz.org.nz/

Human Rights Commission (https://www.hrc.co.nz/)

Union (https://www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/unions-and-bargaining/unions/)

Community Legal Service (http://communitylaw.org.nz/)

Working Women's Resource Centre (https://wwrc.org.nz/)

Lactation Consultant (http://www.nzlca.org.nz/find.html)