Is your workplace a breastfeeding friendly workplace?


NSW Health has released an updated Policy Directive (PD) on strategies to improve breastfeeding practices by the promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding within the NSW Health system.

It’s important for employers to integrate breastfeeding support into their workplace structures and culture. The evidence shows that in doing so leads to increased retention rates, lowering absenteeism, reducing recruitment costs and retaining valuable corporate knowledge.

The union movement, including ASMOF seeks to ensure that employers meet best practice in breastfeeding support. And we believe creating a supportive environment for breastfeeding employees is simple.

That is why we have fought to have enforceable conditions put into our Award like the lactation break clause.

The lactation break clause applies to employees who are lactating mothers and is provided for breastfeeding, expressing milk or other activity necessary to the act of breastfeeding or expressing milk and is in addition to any other rest period and meal break as provided by the relevant Award.

In summary:

  • All relevant employees working more than four hours per day are entitled to a maximum of two paid lactation breaks of up to 30 minutes each per day or per shift.
  • A part-time employee working four hours or less on any day or shift is entitled to one paid lactation break of up to 30 minutes each per day or per shift worked.
  • Lactation breaks can be taken by mutual agreement between and a flexible approach needs to be taken.
  • The employer must provide access to a suitable, private space with comfortable seating for breastfeeding or expressing milk. And other suitable facilities, such as refrigeration and a sink, must be provided if practicable. If it is not practicable to provide these facilities, a manager and the employee should look at reasonable alternative arrangements for the employee’s lactation needs.
  • Employees experiencing difficulties in effecting the transition from home-based breastfeeding to the workplace will have telephone access in paid time to a free breastfeeding consultative service, such as that provided by the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s Breastfeeding Helpline Service or the Public Health System.
  • Employees needing to leave the workplace during time normally required for duty to seek support or treatment in relation to breastfeeding and the transition to the workplace may utilise sick leave or other leave in accordance with the award.

If you have any questions you would like to raise regarding breastfeeding in your workplace, please contact us at or on 9212 6900.