Supporting and Accommodating Breastfeeding
Approval Date: 2008-03-25
Effective Date: 2008-06-01
Review Date: 2020-03-25
Vice-President (Academic) and the Director of Human Resources.
Memorial University recognizes the importance of creating a family-friendly environment for students, employees, and the community at large. An environment that is friendly to and supportive of breastfeeding mothers is an important component of a family-friendly environment. In this regard, the University aims to provide a supportive and flexible environment for breastfeeding employees and students as they transition back to study or work.
To outline the conditions that apply to supporting and accommodating breastfeeding at Memorial University.
Employees, students, and guests of the University in all departments and locations.
The needs of breastfeeding mothers vary among each other and change over time. Therefore, creative approaches are employed to meet the provisions outlined in this policy.
1.0 The University takes reasonable measures to accommodate employees and students who wish to breastfeed or express breastmilk in the workplace, or while attending university.
2.0 Quiet breastfeeding infants and young children are welcome in lecture theatres, public spaces, seminar rooms etc; however, infants and young children are not permitted in laboratories or other settings where potential health and safety issues and hazards may be of concern.
3.0 Breastfeeding mothers must be considerate of the impact of infants and young children on the work/study environment of colleagues and fellow students.
4.0 The University provides the following specific facilities and support:
4.1 Time for Lactation breaks:
The University is committed to providing flexibility for employees to take lactation breaks during their workday. One or more 30-minute unpaid breaks in an eight-hour period, in addition to normal breaks, are recommended.
- The number of times a woman needs to breastfeed or express milk will be determined by the individual needs of the mother and the age of the baby and may vary over time
- The mother makes arrangements for lactation breaks in consultation with her immediate supervisor or unit head.
The University gives consideration to the needs of breastfeeding mothers and families with young children in the design and allocation of new university buildings, and in the remodeling of existing buildings (e.g., family-friendly washrooms and access to private space for breastfeeding or care of young children). Breastfeeding women are reasonably accommodated by having access to the following:
- A clean, hygienic, and private area to breastfeed or express breastmilk, which may be a student or employee lounge or an unused office, for example.
- A comfortable chair to use while breastfeeding or expressing.
- A table to support breast pump and/or equipment.
- Washing facilities for hands and equipment.
- A change table.
- Secure storage facilities for breastmilk (refrigerator/ freezer) and for the storage of breastmilk expression equipment (pump).
- An electrical outlet for women who use an electric pump.
- Breastfeeding and family-friendly spaces are located in central areas throughout the campus.
For students' breastfeeding:
- Quiet infants and young children in arms are welcome in lecture theatres and seminar rooms.
- Students should attempt to sit in a location where their exit from the room during a lecture or seminar (if the baby becomes fussy) would minimize disruptions to the learning environment.
- During examinations, in cases where the duration of an examination would interfere with breastfeeding routine, students should consult with
their course instructor for alternative, appropriate accommodation
during the examination if required.
- The University supports an environment that encourages women to feel at ease breastfeeding their infants and young children throughout the campus. However, there are areas of the university where infants and young children are not permitted due to safety/health concerns or requirements.
- Support from fellow employees is important in providing a breastfeeding environment and therefore efforts are made to inform employees about this policy to secure their cooperation for any workplace accommodations that may be needed. New employees and students are informed of University policies (including the breastfeeding policy) during orientation.
- There may be situations or environments within the University when breastfeeding breaks or private space for breastfeeding may not be provided. Other options should be explored with the mother to ensure that her needs are met.