Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Public Servants Win Breast Breaks; New Lactation Clause Delivers Women the Right to Breastfeed Their Babies at Work

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Public Servants Win Breast Breaks; New Lactation Clause Delivers Women the Right to Breastfeed Their Babies at Work

Article excerpt

Byline: Dominic Feain dominic.feain@northernstar.com.au

AFTER three months struggling with breastfeeding and work, new Lismore mum Tory Hardy has welcomed the decision to give mothers in the NSW Public Service the time and space to feed their babies at work.

While not working in the public service herself, Ms Hardy made the difficult decision to stop breastfeeding last month due to stress.

"Nothing was working and he wouldn't latch on," she said. "I've been lucky compared with some mothers as I've only been working two shifts a week, but it was still very stressful.

"Stress impacts dramatically on breastfeeding and the baby picks up on it."

However, following negotiations between the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Director of Public Employment, the NSW Industrial Relations Commissioner last week approved a variation to the industrial award - known as the Lactation Clause - des- cribing it as a 'significant milestone in the public sector'.

Breastfeeding mothers now will be allowed two half-hour paid breaks to breastfeed or express milk in a private space with access to hygienic facilities such as a fridge and a sink.

Part-time workers are to be allowed a half-hour break each four-hour shift.

The PSA's women's officer, Anne Kennelly, told The Northern Star the union had started the negotiations after receiving countless reports of women having to express milk in cars or staff toilets in their lunch breaks.

Others had given up breastfeeding due to a lack of workplace support, and some had been harassed for storing milk in work fridges. …

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