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Shared Parental Leave: A Key Barrier to Breastfeeding in the UK

Gheyoh Ndzi, Ernestine (2023) Shared Parental Leave: A Key Barrier to Breastfeeding in the UK. International Journal of Law and Society, 6 (1). pp. 62-69.

10.11648.j.ijls.20230601.19.pdf - Published Version

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The paper aimed to examine the impact of shared parental leave (SPL) on breastfeeding practices amongst women returning to work after taking SPL in the UK. Despite considerable evidence of its benefit, the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. Drawing on survey data from 161 mothers that took SPL and breastfed, the paper argues that SPL has a negative impact on breastfeeding because of the lack of a national policy on breastfeeding. The lack of a national policy on breastfeeding is reflected in a lack of employer support for breastfeeding mothers in the workplace. Findings demonstrate that mothers can combine shared parental leave and breastfeeding if they are adequately supported in the workplace. Levels of workplace support can determine how long a mother may breastfeed when they return to work after birth and whether they take shared parental leave. The paper concludes that SPL negatively impacts breastfeeding due to the lack of a national policy and no legal obligation for employers to provide breastfeeding support for mothers. The article recommends a national policy on breastfeeding. While a national policy is pending, for employers to include breastfeeding as part of their equality, diversity, and inclusion agenda.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: 10.11648.j.ijls.20230601.19
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7394

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