Workplace Report October 2021

Equality news

Call for action to boost breastfeeding

At last month’s TUC Congress, the RCM midwives’ union called for the legal rights for workplace breastfeeding to be extended, as it says ACAS guidance is being ignored by many organisations, and this is affecting breastfeeding rates in the UK, which are among the world’s lowest.

In the motion, the union said that women are reporting having to express milk in staff toilets and are not getting paid breaks to breastfeed or express their milk. Many also do not have facilities to store expressed milk during the day. The union said this is leading to women breastfeeding less or stopping earlier than they would like. The RCM has also called for a review and strengthening of the ACAS guidance, and for it to have a statutory footing so that employers have a legal duty to do it.

Although 81% of mothers in the UK start breastfeeding their baby, this drops to around 17% after three months.