IT'S OFFICIAL – women are allowed to feed their baby in a cafe, or restaurant, or in the workplace, without being told to desist or to leave.
Under changes to the Sex Discrimination Act passed last night by the Federal Parliament, it will be discriminatory for a restaurateur to decline to serve a patron who is breastfeeding, or an employer to refuse to hire any woman who is breastfeeding.
The changes will strengthen protection for workers with family responsibilities, as well as provide specific protection for women who are breastfeeding.
Local restaurateurs welcomed the changes, saying they supported women's right to breastfeed their baby in public.
“For the most part this natural function goes on barely being noticed, let alone causing any offence,” Byron Beach Cafe owner Ben Kirkwood said.
Peter Fleming, owner of Alphadale in Goonellabah, agreed.
“We are more than happy for women who need to breastfeed to do so on our premises, as long as it is discreet.”
The Australian Breastfeeding Association applauded the move, with ABA president Querida David saying: “It's unfortunate an act as normal as breastfeeding needs special protection.”
The ABA urged the Federal Government to promote existing strategies that enable workplaces, service providers and communities to respond to the needs of breastfeeding women.
Ms David said the ABA's Breastfeeding Friendly Workplaces can have a positive impact on the percentage of women breastfeeding.
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