Integrating breastfeeding support into your workplace culture makes good business sense. For employers, the benefits of providing support to breastfeeding mothers in the workplace include:
- Increased retention rates
- Lower absenteeism
- Reduced recruitment costs
- Retaining valuable corporate knowledge
In addition, continued breastfeeding may help mothers return to work more easily and improve the work that they do. Ensuring that your organization supports breastfeeding identifies your workplace as being committed to creating a family-friendly environment.
Did You Know?
Health Canada, the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Public Health Agency of Canada all recommend that babies continue to breastfeed or receive breastmilk for up to two years and beyond for optimal health. Most Canadian mothers return to work when their child is one year of age and employment insurance benefits end. This means that many mothers will need support and encouragement to continue breastfeeding when they re-enter the workforce. The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that employers should accommodate any needs mothers have for breastfeeding or expressing milk for their child.
What Employers can do to Support Breastfeeding
- Have a positive attitude towards breastfeeding. Inform your staff of the benefits of breastfeeding and ensure that they have a positive and supportive attitude too. If you invite members of the community into your workplace, make sure the environment is breastfeeding-friendly for the public. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Establish appropriate facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breastmilk by providing all or some of the following:
- A clean, private, pleasant room with a “room in use” sign
- A baby changing and hand washing area
- A comfortable chair
- Access to refrigeration or a cooler with ice packs
- Easy access to parking if breastfeeding is off-site
- Provide flexible scheduling by offering:
- An extended maternity/parental leave
- Job sharing
- Part time hours
- A leave of absence
- An extended lunch or break that can be made up at other times
- Consider developing a breastfeeding policy for your workplace.
For more support or to get a complete Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace Binder, please contact email@example.com or call 519-631-9900.
Adapted with permission from Peterborough County-City Health Unit.
Helpful Websites and Resources
One easy way to start introducing the concept of wellness is to start with a Wellness Bulletin Board.
This is a designated board not to be confused with a bulletin board for Health and Safety Posters and notification. The recommendation is to have two separate boards in highly visible spots so that all employees will see. Instead of an actual poster board you may want to have an electronic wellness board where you post health promotion messages, recipes, inspirational sayings and tasteful humorous cartoons and jokes.
- Health Canada – Calendar of Health Promotion Days
This calendar lists awareness days, weeks and months that are recognized by the health community.
Check out some of our local organizations for guest speakers, pamphlets, contests and general information. Some local examples include the Alzheimer Society Elgin-St. Thomas.
Workplace Wellness Month is celebrated each October. For a great list of ideas, resources, and activities visit http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/
Sample workplace templates to assist in guiding the development of policies for the workplace.