New Zealand received lots of praises after coming up with laws that support breastfeeding in public. This includes places like schools, cafes, public swimming pools, among other places. These new laws went further to offer favourable provisions for breastfeeding mothers who wish to get back to work while they are still breastfeeding. Here is an overview of some of the laws related to breastfeeding in New Zealand.
Breastfeeding Discrimination Is Illegal
Experiencing unfair treatment because of expressing breast milk or breastfeeding is considered illegal. It is regarded as a form of sex discrimination as per the Human Rights Act. The act declares that it is not legal for anyone to stop you from breastfeeding on a public transport vehicle, in school, in government departments, in shops, in restaurants, and other public places. The act does list all the public areas that a mother has the right to express milk and breastfeed.
Stopping or Preventing a Woman from Breastfeeding at the Workplace Is Illegal
All mothers have the right to breastfeed or express milk while at the place of work. It is, therefore, important that the employer and breastfeeding mothers work together to allow regular breastfeeding breaks. The NZ laws do not require the employer to pay for the breaks used for breastfeeding. The international labour standards, however, claim that the breaks for breastfeeding should be paid.
What You Should Do When Discriminated Against
You should take various steps whenever you feel that you have been discriminated against due to breastfeeding in public. For starters, you should note the place, time, and if possible, the name or description of the discriminating individual. You should then find someone to talk to who can help you choose the right course of action. The person you speak to should preferably be someone who is knowledgeable in the law or is in a position of power to do something about it. If the discrimination happened at the place of work, for example, you should consult with the manager or a person from the human resource department. In extreme cases, contact the Human Rights Commission for more information and guidance on actions to take.
How the Human Rights Commission Can Help
The Human Rights Commission can offer you help whenever you make a discrimination complaint, free of charge. Examples of things they can do include advising you on how to resolve the situation on your own, informing you of your rights, making an informal intervention, and mediation. Such can help to resolve the situation if the discriminant agrees to apologise and desist from discriminating breastfeeding mothers in the future. The discriminant should also agree to compensate you for your losses, complete an education or training program, or develop a better workplace policy that supports breastfeeding.
Improvements to Be Made
Despite New Zealand’s overwhelming support for women breastfeeding in public, a majority of people still feel that there is a lot more that needs to be done with respect to this, especially when it comes to workplace. The general feeling is that employers should do more to create a conducive environment for breastfeeding babies in the workplace. Others feel that there should be a widespread campaign aimed at changing the attitudes of people concerning breastfeeding in public. These campaigns should also sensitise women on the right ways to feed their babies in public.