“Breastfeeding is increasingly an issue for employers because of changing demographics and labour force participation patterns. Establishing a work environment supportive of breastfeeding by maternal employees can have direct bottom line benefits."

J.Smith, Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health 2009

The Business Case

Many employers recognise that helping employee’s balance the demands of work and family results in a happier, more productive workplace. Family friendly work options, including: flexible work hours & locations, paid parental leave, child care facilities, domestic leave to care for elderly parents or sick children, school holiday programmes, leave without pay, partial retirement etc. are now commonplace in many workplaces as organisations respond to the changing needs of their workforce. However, more than one third of New Zealand employers are unaware of workplace breastfeeding legislation (Employer’s and Manufacturer’s Assoc (EMA) Half-Yearly Employers Survey (July 2015),  asked ‘Is your business or organisation aware of the 2008 Infant Feeding Amendment to the Employment Relations Act which is designed to provide guidance for the protection and promotion of breastfeeding through breaks and facilities?’ 38 percent of respond they were not aware).


Women's Health Action carried out a survey of 484 NZ employees and 75 NZ employers in 2015:

  • 54% of employee respondents said their employers provided them with flexible hours and/or private facilities to breastfeed
  • 20% of employees said that no workplace support was available
  • 67% of employers said they saw a reduction in staff turnover when providing adequate breastfeeding facilities
  • 69% of employers said that providing breastfeeding support helped improve staff morale