ACT Health

ACT Health achieved Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace (BFW) accreditation in September 2012. This accreditation acknowledges ACT Health’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of its employees and support for staff who wish to balance paid work and breastfeeding.

ACT Health provides health care to residents of the ACT and surrounds, and includes the Canberra Hospital and community based services. The workplaces are diverse, including staff working out of client’s homes, schools and in the field. Ensuring that we have a system which will support breastfeeding staff in these various settings is challenging, but not insurmountable. As the main provider of health care in the ACT, and as the lead Directorate implementing the ACT Breastfeeding Strategic Framework 2010-2015, it is important that we demonstrate our commitment to protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.  

ACT Health staff work under Enterprise Agreements which provide conditions for breastfeeding staff. The conditions allow for paid lactation breaks of up to one hour per working shift/day, access to suitable facilities, and the right to negotiate flexible working conditions. We also offer paid Maternity Leave of 18 weeks in addition to the federal paid parental leave scheme.

Jen’s Story

I took 14 months leave following the birth of my twin daughters, and recently returned to work part-time.  The decision to return to work was not straightforward.  My husband and I had made the decision not to place our girls in childcare, so this meant I needed work outside business hours when my husband was able to be home.  I also wished to continue breastfeeding the girls morning and evening.  I was able to transfer to another position within ACT Health that gave me flexible after-hours work, and suited our family well.  As a breastfeeding employee, I am thankful to have a supportive workplace that allows me to take a breastfeeding break each shift.  This made the decision to return to work much less stressful, and has also made the adjustment easier for my daughters.