Over the last few days the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provision Act 2023 came into law in Ireland, giving breastfeeding women a legal right to breastfeeding breaks in the workplace.
Under the legislation, the entitlement to breastfeeding breaks will be extended from the current period of six months up to two years.
If you are working and breastfeeding your baby, you are entitled to take time off work each day to breastfeed. This applies to all women (or birthing parents) in employment who have given birth within the previous 2 years (104 weeks). Employers do not have to provide facilities in the workplace to facilitate breastfeeding if providing such facilities would give rise to considerable costs. At the choice of your employer, you are entitled to:
- Breastfeed in the workplace or express breast milk, where suitable facilities are available in your workplace, or
- Have your working hours reduced (without loss of pay) to facilitate breastfeeding where suitable facilities are not available.
If you are working and breastfeeding, you are entitled to take 1 hour off work (with pay) each day as a breastfeeding break for up to 2 years (104 weeks) after birth. This time may be taken as:
- One 60 minute break
- Two 30 minute breaks
- Three 20 minute breaks
Breaks may be longer and more frequent if agreed between you and your employer. Check with your employer what their policy is.
Part-time workers are also entitled to breastfeeding breaks, calculated on a pro-rata basis.
Petrina, our founder chatted about this new law on Clare FM today and you can listen back to it here. On Wednesday Petrina, along with Lisa Joyce and Christine Lane featured on Newstalk to also discuss the impact on working mothers.