Supporting mothers at workplace
To mark World Breastfeeding Week 2019 (August 1-7), the International Labour Organization (ILO) has reiterated its commitment to supporting and promoting breastfeeding in workplace.
The occasion also provided an opportunity to look at how garment factories in Bangladesh are making a difference in the lives of nursing mothers at work, supported by the Mothers@Work initiative.
The first of its kind in Bangladesh, Mothers@Work is a partnership between Unicef and ILO’s flagship “Better Work Bangladesh” (BWB) programme -- jointly managed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), according to a press release.
Mothers@Work was launched in 2017 to help safeguard the wellbeing of mothers and ensure that their children receive the early nutrition they deserve. The initiative has been rolled out in 80 BWB partner factories.
Tania Akhter is one of around 80 breastfeeding mothers employed at Sparrow Apparels Ltd in Gazipur. The 28-year-old quality inspector is a mother of two and has been bringing her nine-month-old son to the on-site childcare centre and breastfeeding room since her return from maternity leave. The breastfeeding corner offers Tania and her child a private, clean and well-equipped space.
The childcare centre also has three nurses and two doctors. The breastfeeding mothers get two additional breaks (30 minutes each) before and after lunch hour to spend time with their little ones.
In addition to a supportive work environment, Mothers@Work focuses on paid maternity leave, health protection, cash and medical benefits, child care and employment protection and non-discrimination at workplace.
“Workplace facilities, such as the breastfeeding room, has helped our factory retain staff and skills in an industry with a high staff turnover rate,” said Fatama Akter, compliance officer at Sparrow Apparels Ltd.
For more information on Better Work Bangladesh, one can visit: https://betterwork.org/where-we-work/bangladesh