What can you read in this article?
- Expanded Breastfeeding Law
- 6 rights of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace
Expanded Breastfeeding Law
The Expanded Breastfeeding Promotions Act of 2009, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 16, 2010, is a piece of legislation that promotes breastfeeding.
Firstly, in order to protect breastfeeding working mothers by providing them with safe and healthy working circumstances while also taking their maternal requirements into mind, some stipulations were introduced to the law in 2012.
This act is also known as the RA 10028 or “An act providing incentives to all government and private health institutions with rooming-in and breastfeeding practices and for other purposes”.
The law mandates that health and non-health institutions must afford breastfeeding working mothers with certain facilities and services that will enable them to successfully continue breastfeeding after going back to work.
Unfortunately, there are still some breastfeeding mothers who are unaware of these rights.
Importantly, it is critical for us breastfeeding mothers to understand our legal rights so that we can provide ourselves and our babies with a healthy mom-and-child-friendly space for breastfeeding needs.
Knowing about the breastfeeding policy in the workplace Philippines will also help us identify how we can contribute to making our workplaces more accommodating to breastfeeding working moms in the future.
6 rights of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace
Here’s a quick rundown of what employers are required by law to supply to their breastfeeding employees.
Nursing Station- Rustan’s Makati
1. Establishment of Lactation Stations
A lactation station must be provided with all the necessary equipment and facilities. The minimum requirements include:
- a sink for hand-washing
- appropriate refrigeration and cooling facilities for expressed breastmilk
- electrical outlets for breast pumps
- table and comfortable seats for the moms
The Department of Health (DOH) further states in Section 10 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that “the lactation station shall be clean, well ventilated, comfortable and free from contaminants and hazardous substances, and shall ensure privacy for the women to express their milk and/or inappropriate cases, breastfeed their child.”
Following to the regulations, the lactation station must not also be installed in the comfort rooms.
2. Paid Lactation Periods
Lactation periods are regular break intervals wherein breastfeeding working moms can go to the lactation station to express milk. In addition to this are meal breaks afforded to them.
These intervals must be compensated. This must include the time it takes for the employee to go to and from the workplace lactation station.
Also, this time frame can be adjusted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). It should be at least forty (40) minutes for every eight-hour working period.
In addition to this, the DOH adds that the employer and the employees can further agree to the frequency and duration of these breaks, but that there can usually be 2-3 breast milk expressions that last between 15 – 30 minutes during one workday.
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3. Breastfeeding or Lactation Support Programs
Employers are required to provide regular breastfeeding education to breastfeeding working moms. Offices are asked to link with the DOH, local government, or NGOs to avail of the breastfeeding program. This shall also be included as part of their human resource development program. Companies can also provide brochures, pamphlets, and other educational materials.
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4. Workplace Compliance with the Milk Code
Section 10 of DOH’s IRR states that employers must not promote, market, or sell, directly or indirectly, the use of formula or other breast milk substitutes within the lactation station.
This is to encourage breastfeeding working moms to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months; then introduce complimentary food while continuing to breastfeed, from six months to two years and beyond.
5. Workplace Policy
Sometimes breastfeeding working moms are chided for leaving their workstations to express milk or nurse. To avoid this, a written policy must be developed in consultation with the employees. It must be made part of the company manual and must be disseminated to all concerned.
6. Children and mothers in the workplace have the right to breastfeeding policies in the Philippines
Breastfeeding provides significant immunological and nutritional benefits to neonates, particularly in the first six months of life.
In the Philippines, 92 percent of children aged 6 to 35 months were breastfed at some point, according to the results of the 2011 Family Health Survey (FHS).
Breastfeeding has been shown to have cognitive and health benefits for both infants and moms. It is especially important during the first 6 months of life since it aids in the prevention of diarrhea and pneumonia, 2 most common causes of infant death. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of ovarian and breast cancer, two of the most common cancers in women.
Stricter adherence to pro-breastfeeding laws
During the Breastfeeding Awareness Month held in August of 2019, Senator Pia Cayetano stated that there is more needed to be done to completely support breastfeeding, particularly among working mothers.
She believes that the agencies in charge of enforcing the law should do more to ensure that it is adequately enforced.
With 10 years since its passing, Sen. Cayetano called on the Department of Health to ensure that all sectors are RA 10028 compliant.
Moreover, she encouraged the labor department, and the Civil Service Commission to check whether private enterprises and government offices are complying with rules for lactation stations and breaks.
Invest more in breastfeeding support from the government
In addition to this, there should also be increased investments by the government in support of breastfeeding and child and maternal health programs.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization have urged the Philippine government to enhance national efforts to increase breastfeeding rates, citing a low of 34% of Filipino children under the age of 6 months who are nursed exclusively. Increased government spending on health and nutrition is vital, according to both UN organizations.
Also, this data has been related to the all-time high numbers of malnutrition and undernutrition among Filipino children.
Know your rights and demand the implementation of breastfeeding policies in the workplace
Now that you know your rights, in addition to this check if your employer is doing their part in helping you succeed in breastfeeding.
If not, maybe it’s time for you to raise how they can start providing nursing employees a better, more breastfeeding-friendly workplace.
Reminder: How impactful and beneficial breastfeeding is for your child
Ending this rundown with a list of benefits your child can get from being breastfed:
- Stronger immune system
- Fewer colds and respiratory illnesses
- Better vision
- Lower rates of infant mortality
- Lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS
- Overall healthier baby
We know that as a mom, you’d do anything for your child. And this is one! It does not only provide your child with good health benefits but also strengthens your mother-child relationship.
UNICEF, Official Gazette, Cleveland Clinic,