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Teachers sought increase in breastfeeding time allowance

INTO conference motion from Enniscorthy district sought to double teachers’ breastfeeding time entitlements.

A MOTION ON the final agenda of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation conference sought to increase the one-hour time off allowance for breastfeeding teachers from 26 weeks to 52 weeks.

The motion, which was put forward by the Enniscorthy district, stated:

A teacher who is breastfeeding within a twenty six week period after the birth of her child is entitled to time off, one hour per day, without loss of pay as a breastfeeding break. Demands that this circular be amended to read 52 weeks.

Under Irish law a woman in employment who is breastfeeding is entitled to time off to breastfeed or express milk under Maternity Protection Regulations 2004. This means at any time an employee whose date of confinement was not more than twenty-six weeks earlier, who is breastfeeding is entitled to one hour (with pay) off work each day as a breastfeeding break. This time may be taken as:

  • One 60-minute break
  • Two 30-minute breaks
  • Three 20-minute breaks

The motion which was not discussed due to time constraints at the conference sought to double the amount of days that women in other areas of employment are entitled to under law.

A spokesperson for the INTO said that the motion never got discussed during the conference adding:

In general, the INTO would argue that this facility should be extended to all working mothers regardless of occupation but as we represent primary teachers only we can only seek change with their employer, the Department of Education and Skills. Over the decades the INTO has a good record of securing improvements for its members many of which then had a wider application.

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