13 August 2015
Slater and Gordon: Maternity Discrimination Specialists
The maternity discrimination specialists at Slater and Gordon Lawyers released the results of their most recent survey during World Breastfeeding Week.
On Friday the 7th of August, Slater and Gordon’s Employment and Partnership Principal Lawyer Samantha Mangwana appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Presenter Ben Shepard read the results of the poll before Samantha shared her expert advice for breastfeeding mothers looking to return to work.
She spoke about the pressure women feel upon returning to work to either reduce their breastfeeding or end their breastfeeding early. Samantha also spoke about employer’s duty to carry out a risk assessment if their worker informs them that they are breastfeeding or serves them with notice that they’ve had a baby within the last six months.
Mirror online articles on how breastfeeding mums should be supported by employers to continue feeding their babies when they return to work and breastfeeding in public and at work: Figures reveal mums are under pressure in and out of the workplace also drew from the research we carried out on maternity discrimination in the workplace.
The breastfeeding research found that over half of the women surveyed decreased the amount of breastfeeding they were doing upon their return to work. Of the mums who reduced their breastfeeding when returning to work, four in 10 said there wasn’t anywhere for them to feed their child or express milk. One in five said there wasn’t anywhere to store milk and one in seven said their employer wasn’t supportive.
Other findings from the Slater and Gordon research included the following:
- 14% of mums only breastfeed their children at home.
- 22% of mothers returning to work only breastfeed when not at work.
- 12.5% of mothers returning to work stop breastfeeding altogether.
- Almost eight out of 10 mums feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public or refused to do so.
Employment Solicitor Paula Chan said, “Women who choose to breastfeed their children are totally within their rights to do so in a public place.
“The law is less clear, however, in relation to women who wish to return to work whilst breastfeeding.
“We support greater protection for women who wish to continue breastfeeding on return to work. It’s not hard for employers to make provisions for women who are breastfeeding. They can set aside a private room, allow the child to come to the office at lunchtime, where possible, provide a fridge for storing milk and allow women to be more flexible with their work hours.
"Many mothers do not know the legal breastfeeding rights they have upon their return to work. Your working conditions should not stop you from breastfeeding. If you can give evidence that your baby’s health will suffer as a result of not being able to continue breastfeeding your employer must carry out a risk assessment.”
Paula highlighted that, “For most women just starting the conversation about breastfeeding and expressing milk before they return to work is a step forward and a way of helping women feel like there is a choice in whether they continue to breastfeed or not.”
If you would like to read more on the topic see our blog on the Report to Protect Breastfeeding Mothers from Maternity Discrimination.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experts in maternity discrimination at work and the regulations that protect breastfeeding mothers returning to work. We can provide immediate legal representation anywhere in the UK. For an initial consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.