TODDLERS PLIGHT! New law roots for compulsory breastfeeding facilities at work place

A new law is in the offing that will compel all employers to put in place breastfeeding facilities for mothers as well as allocate time during working hours to allow mothers feed their infants.

The proposal is contained in the Employment Amendment Bill 2022 and was moved by Agnes Kunihira (Workers MP) who is proposing to insert a new clause in Section 56 of the Employment Act 2016 for the protection of breast feeding mothers from discrimination.

In clause 16(2) Kunihira proposes: “Upon the expiry of a female employees maternity leave, an employer shall, accord the female breast feeding employee a daily thirty minute breastfeeding break in every two hours of continuous work, or a reduction in the contractual hours of daily work for an additional sixty working days to enable the female employee breast feed her child.

Further in clause 16(3), the lawmaker proposed, An employer shall establish a reasonable lactation station at the workplace. (3) The breaks or reduction in daily hours of work referred to in subsection (1) shall be considered as part of the female breast feeding employee’s ordinary working time and shall be remunerated accordingly.

According to Kunihira, the new legislation intends to amend the Employment Act 2006, and specifically makes provision for the regulation of employment of domestic workers and casual employees so as to improve their working conditions; to provide for compulsory registration and licensing of recruitment agencies for domestic workers and non-manual labourers: to provide for the recruitment and employment of migrant workers to provide for scope of sexual harassment in employment and to provide for the protection of working breast feeding mothers.

Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa referred the Bill to Parliament’s Committee of Gender, Labour and Social Development before a final decision is taken on the proposed amendments.

It should be recalled that there was an earlier attempt to amend the Employment Act 2006 in 2020 by Workers Representative Arinaitwe Rwakajara, and despite Parliament passing the bill into law, President Museveni declined to sign the bill into law on grounds that the proposal requiring each employment sector to set a minimum wage would scare away investors.

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