Parliamentary Estate: Breastfeeding

House of Commons Commission written question – answered on 16th November 2018.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Deputy Leader, Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs)

To ask the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington, representing the House of Commons Commission, what provision is made on the Parliamentary estate to (a) provide private spaces for expressing milk or feeding and (b) otherwise support breastfeeding mothers on their return to work.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

The House of Commons provides private spaces for expressing milk or feeding in two publicly accessible areas in the Palace of Westminster. The baby care room is located on the Upper Committee Corridor and the Health and Wellbeing space is off the Lower Waiting Hall; the Lower Waiting Hall space is available with agreement from the practice nurse if it is not being used for a medical emergency.

In addition, Commons passholders may access the first aid rooms for expressing milk or feeding by contacting the reception teams in the following buildings:

Portcullis House

• 1 Parliament Street

Richmond House

• Norman Shaw South

Tothill Street has a baby care room on the 5th floor.

For House of Commons and Parliamentary Digital Service staff, line managers are expected to regularly monitor the working arrangements of an expectant mother or new parent both throughout pregnancy and if the member of staff returns to work within six months after the birth or while feeding.

Parents of young children returning to work may make a request for flexible working on either a temporary or permanent basis. Examples of flexible working include part-time working and working from home.

The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can provide practical advice and guidance as well as counselling and support on a broad range of issues including family issues and childcare support. From 1 November employees of the House of Commons, PDS and House of Lords, have been able to access this service alongside Members of both Houses and their staff.

Further support to families is also available via "My Family Care" which provides a range of practical tools and resources to support parents. The House also provides a workplace nursery and users of the House of Commons nursery also have access to the expressing and feeding facilities in the nursery based in 1 Parliament Street.

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