Jodi - posted on 05/25/2011 ( 88 moms have responded )
NEW mums want paid breastfeeding breaks in the workplace.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association yesterday welcomed new federal laws making it illegal to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.
But it said the laws should go further by including paid lactation breaks across all workplaces.
Some Victorian workplaces already have breastfeeding breaks for new mothers, but ABA president Querida David said they should be legislated across all industry sectors.
Staff could use lactation breaks - two a day up to 30 minutes each - to express milk, and store it, or leave the premises to feed their babies.
The news comes just days after a study showed stay-at-home mothers are shrinking in numbers.
Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry workplace relations policy manager Alexandra Marriott said employers and staff should be encouraged to work out a mutually acceptable policy.
"Lactation breaks are generally something contemplated by enterprise agreements or by workplace policy and procedure," she said.
The new federal laws strengthen existing Victorian equal opportunity legislation, which protect breastfeeding in the workplace and public life.
But Ms David said more action was needed in assisting workplaces in implementing practices that supported breastfeeding.
Kew mother-of-two Karen Richards said feeding a baby was the most natural thing in the world and she was amazed laws had to be passed to protect women doing this.
"A baby doesn't wait for the most appropriate moment. When a baby is hungry, it's hungry - and you'd think most people would understand that."
Ms Richards, who breastfeeds her six-month-old son Louis, said she had not suffered discrimination.
But she was shocked when friends were asked not to breastfeed at a cafe.
So do you think mothers should expect to be PAID for their breastfeeding breaks? Should it be legislated, or should it just be an arrangement between employer and employee? Do you think that this type of legislation could ultimately discourage employers from hiring women of childbearing age?