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Department for Work and Pensions: Breastfeeding

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th November 2016.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) facilities and (b) other support his Department provides for (i) visitors and (ii) staff for (A) lactating mothers and (B) the expressing of breast milk.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

In relation to its staff the Department provides suitable rest facilities, including the facility to lie down for both pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in its offices. Breastfeeding mothers are given access to a private room or area for the purpose of expressing milk and access to a secure clean refrigerator to store such milk. It also ensures that a New and Expectant Mothers risk assessment is carried out with the woman as required.

In relation to customers visiting DWP premises, the Department recognises that breastfeeding women are entitled to breastfeed in its premises. Whilst some women may be content to breastfeed in public areas, a private area may also be required. As far as it is practical to do so the Department accommodates any requests for a private area for mothers to breastfeed or express breast milk. It is unlawful to discriminate against a woman who wishes to breastfeed her child, even if other customers complain. The Department has raised awareness of this by developing internal guidance and communications for staff, ensuring that women who are visiting DWP premises and who need to breastfeed are not treated unfairly.

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