Breastfeeding breaks and a doctor's certificate

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Many women want to return to work after taking maternity leave. Certain powers exist to help women reconcile the role of mother and worker.One of them gives the right to use the breastfeeding break. The rules for using such a break are governed by the provisions of the Labor Code.

General rules

An employee who is breastfeeding her child has the right to two half-hour breaks at work, included in the working time. If she is feeding more than one child, she is entitled to two breaks of 45 minutes each. Breastfeeding breaks may be granted jointly at the employee's request.

Employees employed for less than 4 hours a day are not entitled to breastfeeding breaks. If the employee's working time does not exceed 6 hours a day, she is entitled to one break for breastfeeding.

Attention!

An employee whose daily work hours are shorter than 4 hours is not entitled to a break for breastfeeding.

Breaks at work for feeding are included in the working time. They are entitled to remuneration calculated as holiday pay. They are given throughout the entire period of breastfeeding.

It should be emphasized, however, that it will be incorrect to grant an employee a leave which is the sum of the monthly breaks due to breastfeeding a child. Pursuant to the provisions of the Labor Code, at the request of the employee, the breaks to which the employee is entitled may be granted jointly. However, the possibility of joint breaks applies only to those that employees are entitled to during one day, i.e. a maximum of two breaks of 30 minutes or 45 minutes depending on the number of children.

The employer is obliged to grant breaks for breastfeeding because he is bound by the application. If he deprives an employee of this right, he or she will run the risk of committing an offense against the employee's rights.

Early termination of work

Many women, wishing to use a break together, request to finish work 1 hour earlier. Is this practice allowed? But should breastfeeding breaks be used during the working day?

The provision of art. 187 of the Labor Code does not define the times at which a breastfeeding worker may take breastfeeding breaks. It only specifies that the break is granted at its request and that the breaks may be granted jointly. For example, instead of two half-hour breaks, an employee may apply for a one-hour break during the working day. During work, this means that breaks can be granted both at the end and at the beginning of working hours. Therefore, there are no legal obstacles that, at the employee's request, the nursing breaks may be used in such a way that the working time will be reduced by an hour or will start an hour later.

An employee who wants to take advantage of the breastfeeding breaks should submit a written application and provide the child's data, i.e. name, surname, date of birth and the date of commencement of exercising the entitlement and the manner in which she wants to use the breaks. Therefore, an employee who is breastfeeding a child should specify in the application precisely when she will use the breaks she is entitled to.

The employer is obliged to give breaks in accordance with the employee's request, because he is bound by the request to replace the breaks with a shorter working day.

The time during which breaks are given for feeding

Breastfeeding breaks are granted at the employee's request, based on her declaration that she is breastfeeding the child.

There are no regulations that impose time limits on the employee's use of the above-mentioned entitlements, nor does it make entitlement to breaks dependent on the age of the child. This period will depend on the needs of the child and mother. Therefore, it will be individual to each employee who feeds a child. The employee can therefore use these breaks as long as she is actually breastfeeding her baby.

The Labor Code does not require the employer's employee to submit an appropriate medical certificate. A mere statement by the employee should suffice.

Attention!

Nothing in the law requires the employee to present a medical certificate stating that she is breastfeeding the child (as is the case when it is diagnosed that she is pregnant).

The provisions of collective agreements or work regulations may not limit the rights of breastfeeding workers in a less favorable manner than it results from the Labor Code. Thus, the law may not require the submission of medical certificates or regulate how long a breastfeeding worker may take breaks from work.

Important!

Internal regulations in force at employers (e.g. work regulations) may not limit employees' rights resulting from generally applicable laws.

However, it should be noted that such breaks must not interfere with the normal course of work in the workplace.