Lactation Breaks

Dear HR Community,

We have a staff who recently returned from maternity leave and requires time during work to express breast milk.

The staff usually requires 2 x 20mins breaks in a day.

We are childcare and it is not easy to find someone to cover for these breaks, even though they are only 20mins.

My question is how other organisations are managing this and if you have policies in place to help working mothers who are breastfeeding.

Thank you in advance for your replies and advice.





HR Poll: Do you provide lactation breaks for your working mothers who are breastfeeding?

Yes: 84.62%

No: 7.69%

Maybe: 3.85%

Not Sure: 3.85%




Her request is reasonable. You can check with her on the timing for her to lactate. Usually, it is a 4h interval. If she pumps milk before reaching the office (e.g. 8 am reach office - her next break should be around 11 am and the following is 3 pm and 7 pm.) Once the timing is established, you see if you can arrange manpower to cover these timings. If this timing is peak hour, you can check with her to see if she can lactate at 10 am, 2 pm, and 6 pm. because if the interval is too long - she will feel very uncomfortable (it will feel very hard) and in the long run, her milk supply may drop as well. - May

Similar to nature call breaks we should support our employees in such situations. Try working out a class schedule that is able to accommodate the express breast milk, for example, one teacher takes over for the 20 minutes like a storytelling session or nap time so that our friend is able to ease herself.  - Avtar

Our company is quite flexible about this arrangement. We do not set any regulations as long as the staff did not misuse them. - PY

Yes, we do not track the lactation breaks our staff requires, it could be up to 4 or 5 times a day - we just assist to cover as much as we can during the time she is away. - Serene

We do allow these breaks however in our case we do not need a staff to cover during these breaks so we are able to manage. - MK

Hi Gladys, I think this is quite common, though I understand the nature of the role may make it more difficult. I think a discussion with the employee and arrangements to be made with colleagues is important. i.e employees can go when the kids are having their naps or activities that the remaining teacher(s) can manage. - Sharon



Sample Lactation Break Policy


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines and procedures for employees who are nursing mothers to take lactation breaks at work. This policy is designed to ensure that nursing mothers have adequate time and facilities to express milk in a safe and comfortable environment.


This policy applies to all employees who are nursing mothers, regardless of their position, department, or status.

Policy Statement:

The Company recognizes that breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both mothers and babies. As such, we support nursing mothers in their efforts to breastfeed or express milk while at work. The Company will provide reasonable break time and facilities to accommodate the needs of nursing mothers to express milk during the workday.


  1. Lactation breaks should be taken as needed, typically every two to three hours, and should be coordinated with the employee’s supervisor.
  2. Employees who are nursing mothers will be provided with a private and comfortable space to express milk. This space should be free from intrusion and equipped with a chair, electrical outlet, and a surface to place a breast pump and other necessary supplies.
  3. Employees should provide their own breast pumps and storage containers, but the Company will provide a refrigerator to store expressed milk.
  4. Employees may use their regular breaks or unpaid time to express milk. If additional break time is needed, it will be provided and compensated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
  5. Supervisors and managers will work with nursing mothers to ensure that their lactation breaks do not interfere with their job duties or productivity.
  6. Discrimination or retaliation against employees who exercise their right to take lactation breaks is strictly prohibited.


The Company is committed to supporting nursing mothers in the workplace. This policy provides guidelines and procedures for employees to take lactation breaks in a safe and comfortable environment. Employees who are nursing mothers are encouraged to work with their supervisors to ensure that their needs are met and that they can continue to provide their babies with the benefits of breastfeeding.

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