Breastfeeding Maternity / paternity benefits

Breastfeeding at work

Breastfeeding is good for the health of the baby. Legal provisions have been adopted to enable young mothers to reconcile breastfeeding with work.

 The employee is entitled to take breastfeeding leave after the end of her maternity leave, for a limited period of time. Employers sometimes fear that they will have to pay the employee's salary during this leave. What is the reality?

 During the first year of the baby's life, after the end of the maternity leave, the employee is entitled to breaks for breastfeeding or pumping. The duration and remuneration of these breaks depends on the length of the employee's working day.

Working hours

Breastfeeding is a time when the employee particularly needs sufficient rest. The employer cannot ask a breastfeeding employee to work overtime. There are strict limitations on the length of her working day.

Dangerous activities

Certain activities or exposure of breastfeeding employees to certain substances may endanger their health or that of their child. The law expressly states which tasks may be dangerous and which are prohibited.

 This includes all activities that expose a breastfeeding woman to chemical or harmful substances. Exposure to cigarette smoke is also a problem, for example, when a waitress serves customers on a terrace or a receptionist is required to work in a hotel smoking room.

 The employer must offer an equivalent, non-hazardous position to an employee in such a situation. If he fails to do so, he will be obliged to pay part of the employee's salary. The employee will be released from her work obligation for the duration of the protection.


More frequent breaks, taking breastfeeding leave, inability to perform her usual duties, less flexibility to work overtime, risk of sick leave: these are all reasons why employers sometimes dismiss a young mother or a woman who is planning to have children. Such dismissal is discriminatory and has a high risk of being qualified as abusive. The employer may have to pay compensation to the employee. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon