NHS Fife acknowledges and agrees with the importance of regular and timely review of policy/procedure statements and aims to review policies within the timescales set out.
New policies/procedures will be subject to a review date of no more than 1 year from the date of first issue.
Reviewed policies/procedures will have a review date set that is relevant to the content (advised by the author) but will be no longer than 3 years.
If a policy/procedure is past its review date then the content will remain extant until such time as the policy/procedure review is complete and the new version published, or there are national policy or legislative changes.
To support and encourage staff who wish to continue breastfeeding on their return to work.
This policy applies to all employees of NHS Fife.
The responsibility for the application of the policy rests with Line Managers within NHS Fife and HR staff.
4. OPERATIONAL SYSTEM
In addition to acting within current legislation, NHS Fife adopts the following code of practice in support of employees who are breastfeeding:
- Take positive and supportive attitudes to employees returning to work and breastfeeding.
- Make available up-to-date Scottish Government Health & Social Care Directorate literature about breastfeeding for pregnant employees.
- Wherever possible, and as necessary, make available rest areas, storage space and a refrigerator for the use of breastfeeding employees.
4.2 Breastfeeding mothers in the UK have a legal protection under the Health & Safety at Work Regulations, and as employers, we have an obligation to provide:
- Flexible working hours where possible
- Suitable facilities to express and store milk (2-4°c)
- Protection from harmful substances
5. BENEFITS TO EMPLOYEES AND EMPLOYERS
5.1 The benefits of breastfeeding in terms of the overall health of infants and their mothers have been well publicised over the past 10 years. Benefits include:
- Less chest infections and wheezing
- Less chance of eczema and other allergies
- Better mental development
- Reduced risks to the mother of pre-menopausal breast cancer, some forms of ovarian cancer and osteoporosis
- If an employee feels that a flexible and supportive environment exists, she is more likely to return to work earlier
- Support for breastfeeding is crucial to enable mothers to combine both their family and work commitments
- Mothers and babies are, on average, healthier because of breastfeeding which in turn should lead to reduced sickness absence
6. WORKING PATTERNS
6.1 Managers should be flexible, in respect of working patterns when a breastfeeding mother returns to work. This may mean temporarily changing working conditions or hours of work.
Employees should not be required to work shifts, or attend long working days, which might be detrimental to breastfeeding.
6.3 If mothers require to express breast milk or to breastfeed their infant, they are entitled to 2 additional breaks of up to 45 minutes depending on their working pattern.
6.4 Job sharing opportunities exist within NHS Fife, as well as the opportunity to return to work on a part-time basis, depending on the nature of the post.
Managers are required to support those wishing to breastfeed and provide flexibility in working patterns to accommodate these extra breaks.
7. FACILITIES AVAILABLE TO BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS
7.1 Where breastfeeding takes place or breast milk is expressed will depend on where the employee works. However, a room should be made available locally where the employee can comfortably feed or express milk. This room should not be a toilet. However, the room does not need to be used exclusively for expressing milk or breastfeeding.
As a guide, the room should:
- be private
- be warm and clean
- have an electricity supply (if required)
- have a chair
- have hand washing facilities nearby
- allow for the ability to lie down (if required)
The employee will require a clean storage space where sterilizing equipment may be stored. This does not necessarily have to be in the room.
Breast milk should be stored in a sealed bag / container, dated and clearlylabelled with the employee’s name and the date. It should be stored in a staff fridge, but not a drug fridge, at 2o– 4oC until taken home.
If required, an electric pump can be made available by contacting the NHS Fife Breastfeeding Support Co-ordinator on 01383 565331 or mobile 07748704901, or by email.
8. INFORMATION FOR PREGNANT EMPLOYEES
8.1 Information pertaining to breastfeeding is sent to each pregnant employee following their submission of application for maternity leave. Managers can also obtain advice from their Human Resources Department or the NHS Fife Breastfeeding Support Co-ordinator on 01383 565331 or extn 35331 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
8.2 An employee must notify NHS Fife in writing that they plan to breastfeed on return to work.. This can be done by letter, email or by completing the NHS Fife Breastfeeding Questionnaire for employees returning to work.
9. PROTECTION FROM HARMFUL SUBSTANCES
9.1 Some substances can enter breast milk and pose a risk to the breastfed baby. It is essential that advice be obtained on whether particular substances in the workplace are harmful while breastfeeding. Advice is available by contacting the Staff Wellbeing & Safety Service on 01592 724902 or the Health and Safety Executive at www.hse.gov.uk/mothers/.If a post cannot be made safe, then an alternative must be found or suspension on full pay may need to be considered. This is in accordance with the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1992 (updated to include changes affecting young people and new and expectant mothers).
10. RELATED DOCUMENTS
- Breastfeeding Policy & Facilities, Information for Staff.
- Breastfeeding Questionnaire for employees returning to work.
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW)
- Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 (the Workplace Regulations)
- EU Council Directive 92/85/EEC.(Pregnant Workers Directive)
- Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1992 and Employment Rights Act, 1996.
- Scottish Executive, the Scottish Breastfeeding Group, “Breastfeeding and Returning to Work” (accompanied by MEL(2000)27).
- The Equality Act 2010
12. ADDITIONAL CONTACTS
Staff Wellbeing & Safety
1-5 Willow Drive
Whytemans Brae Hospital
Tel: (01592) 724902
National Breastfeeding Helpline
Tel; 0300 100 0212