From 1 April 2009 an employer’s obligation to provide breastfeeding facilities will be introduced into the Employment Relations Act. Set out below are your responsibilities if you have a female employee who wishes to breastfeed.

  1. The term “breastfeeding” includes expressing breast milk.
  2. As an employer you are required to provide an appropriate place at work for an employee who wishes to breastfeed.
  3. You must also provide appropriate breaks for the employee to breastfeed at work.
  4. The requirements to provide a time and place for women to breastfeed are only when it’s reasonable and practicable to do it in your work environment and with the resources you have.
  5. The breastfeeding breaks are only paid if agreed between yourself and your employee.
  6. Breastfeeding breaks are in addition to the standard rest and meal breaks employees are entitled to, however, if the employee agrees, the same break can be used as a breastfeeding break and a rest break.
  7. An employer who does not provide the above requirements may be penalised by the Employment Relations Authority.

The length of the breaks and how many breaks can be taken in one day have not yet been determined, but we expect these details will be outlined in the Code of Practice when it is released.