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Your Rights

Breastfeeding Policy

All maternity units in New Zealand have a Breastfeeding Policy. As a consumer of the service you have the right to read this document. There should be an abridged version on noticeboards in the unit for you to view.  Your maternity unit must provide a full policy on request.

Each facility has a unique policy that has been developed in consultation with the staff and your local community.  It is a powerful tool for you and maternity staff, as it identifies the care that you can expect during your contact with the unit from pregnancy to discharge.

Breastfeeding and Work

In New Zealand you are currently entitled to 22 weeks paid parental leave.  In July 2020 this will increase to 26 weeks.

There are three main types of parental leave:

  • six months unpaid leave
  • 12 months unpaid leave
  • 22 weeks paid parental leave, which can be taken as part of the six and 12 month parental leave.

Visit Parental Leave Eligibility for more information on parental leave and other leave for family/whanau members with a new baby (this includes adoptive parents).

Employers are required to provide appropriate facilities and breaks for employees who wish to breastfeed (including expressing breast milk). The breaks are unpaid unless the employee and employer agree otherwise.

The breastfeeding breaks are to be provided in addition to the standard paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks. The rest and meal breaks can also be used as breastfeeding breaks if this is agreed to by both employer and employee.

For more information on breaks and facilities for breastfeeding, click here.

Employers can find more information at breastfeeding in the workplace.



Breastfeeding in Public

For information on your right to breastfeed in public: