You have the right to ask for support and your employer should respond positively. This is because under the Employment Relations (Breaks, Infant Feeding and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2008, employers are required, so far as reasonable and practicable in the circumstances, to provide appropriate facilities and breaks to an employee who wishes to breastfeed either at work or in work time. If your employer does not allow you any or some of your requests/entitlements put your request to them in writing and ask for a written response.
Who can I go to for help?
➜ Seek advice from your organisation’s Grievance Officer, EEO Manager or externally (try your union, the Human Rights Commission, Working Women’s Resource Centre, or Community Legal Centre). They may be able to give you advice on dealing with the issue yourself or may be able to talk to your employer on your behalf. Sometimes it may simply need some creative solutions to balance both your needs and the needs of the employer, and sometimes a simple phone call to your employer to remind them of their legal obligations will be enough to make sure you get your entitlements.
➜ If you feel harassed or discriminated against, keep a log or diary of all incidents. Wherever possible talk to the person or people involved first and try to resolve the issue. If that doesn’t work or isn’t possible, talk to your direct manager and/or the Human Resource manager. Find out if your workplace has a policy to deal with workplace grievances.
➜ If internal methods are not successful you can get help from your union, Human Rights Commission, or Community Legal Centre.
Remember that it is unlawful for you to be bullied, harassed or discriminated against because you breastfeed as well as it being unlawful for you to be harassed or discriminated against for standing up for your rights.