CBI slams calls for statutory right to breastfeeding breaks for women at work

Business leaders have slammed high-profile calls for women to be allowed time off work to breastfeed – branding the issue a “minority” cause.

MPs, unions, charities and celebrities last week launched the Breastfeeding 
 at the House of Commons. It called on the government to “legislate for breastfeeding breaks for women at work”.

But John Cridland, deputy director-general of the CBI, told Personnel Today that the calls were nonsensical.

“We are opposed to breastfeeding breaks being a statutory right,” he said. “It only makes sense if you have a workplace nursery.”

“This is a minority set of circumstances and we should not bring in rules for minority situations.”

The Breastfeeding Manifesto Coalition is made up of 39 organisations, including union Amicus, Friends of the Earth, the Royal College of Nursing, and Unicef UK.

Charity icon Jemima Khan, Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott and public health minister Caroline Flint also supported the manifesto’s launch.

Returning to work is the most common reason why women stop breastfeeding babies aged over six weeks old, according to the coalition.

Alison Baum, official spokeswoman for the coalition, said: “Women are experiencing a serious lack of adequate support and information. According to the government’s own figures, nine out of 10 women who stop breastfeeding during the first six weeks actually want to breastfeed for longer.”

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