Breastfeeding break - when and to what extent is it due?


I am employed under an employment contract. A month ago, I returned to work after maternity leave. My child is in a nursery near work. Due to the fact that I am breastfeeding, am I entitled to a break for breastfeeding? If so, how long is such a break?

Iwona, Grudziadz


Pursuant to Art. 187 of the Labor Code, each breastfeeding employee is entitled to a fully paid break for breastfeeding, included in the working time. In the case of feeding one child, she is entitled to two half-hour breaks, and if she is feeding more than one child - two breaks of 45 minutes each. Breastfeeding breaks are granted at the employee's request, which should include the first name, surname and date of birth of the child as well as the date of commencement of using the breaks for breastfeeding.

Is it possible to leave work earlier due to breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding breaks may be given jointly. It is permissible to start work later or finish earlier. In order to be able to do so, the employee should submit an appropriate application. The employer is under no obligation to accept the application. If the accumulation of breaks and their joint granting before the commencement of work would disorganize the work in the plant, the application may be rejected.

When should you not stop feeding?

A female employee employed for less than 4 hours a day is not entitled to the breaks in question at all, while a female employee whose working time does not exceed 6 hours a day is entitled to one nursing break.

The table below presents the number of breastfeeding breaks and their length.

Working time

number of children

Length of the break

less than 4 hours

1 or more children

the break is not allowed

more than 4 hours but less than 6 hours

1 child

one 30-minute break

more than 4 hours but less than 6 hours

more than 1 child

one 45-minute break

over 6 hours

1 child

two 30-minute breaks

over 6 hours

more than 1 child

two 45-minute breaks

Breastfeeding break - how long can you use this privilege?

No provision has been made to define up to what age a child can take breastfeeding breaks. There is also no record of how the employee should prove the fact of breastfeeding. Sometimes employers require an appropriate certificate from a doctor, but the Labor Code does not require it. The mere declaration of the nursing mother should suffice.

Opinions regarding the employer's request for a medical certificate are divided. Some believe that if an employee extends the breastfeeding period significantly, the employer has the right to require a proper medical certificate.

Can my employer refuse to consent to breastfeeding breaks?

A break for breastfeeding should be granted by the employer. That is his duty. The refusal is an offense against the rights of the employee, and therefore the employee has the right to lodge a complaint against the employer with the Labor Inspectorate.