Time off for nursing

Once maternity leave comes to an end, the mother or father is entitled to nursing leave to feed their baby

The Spanish Association of Pediatrics, following the recommendations of the World Health Organization, advises that babies be fed exclusively with breast milk for the first six months, and then to breastfeed in conjunction with other food for up to two years.

Although society is increasingly more educated about the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, and many nurseries allow mothers to give them bottles of breast milk, it is often complicated to put that advice into practice with maternity leave that lasts just 16 weeks, ending when the baby is barely four months old.

To facilitate nursing, both the Spanish Workers' Statute and the 2007 Equality Act provide for nursing leave that either the mother or the father (not both) can take until the child is 9 months old. Some collective agreements extend it until the child is a year old, so it is worth looking at the particular conditions of your employer.

One hour of nursing leave

The father or mother can take one hour of nursing leave during the working day, two half-hours throughout the day, or a half-hour reduction in start or finishing time until the child is 9 months old.

The majority of parents tend to choose a half-hour reduction in start or finishing time. The hour of leave (or two half-hours) is interesting, above all, if the baby is nearby the workplace and the mother has time to feed them, or if the father or someone else can bring the baby to work so the mother can breastfeed during her break.

The leave is enjoyed whether the baby is breast or formula fed, because its purpose is to care for the child.

Also with reduced working hours

Nursing leave is independent and compatible with reduced working hours, which parents are entitled to until the child is one year old.

For example, someone who works eight hours and reduces them to six may take an hour of nursing leave in the middle of their day, or start or leave half an hour earlier until the baby reaches 9 months.

Double the time for multiple childbirth

Article 37.4 of the Workers' Statute state that the length of nursing leave will rise proportionally in cases of multiple births. In other words, if you have twins, you can request two hours for nursing in the middle of the day, or at the beginning or the end.

How to request nursing leave

The worker has right to decide the timetable of their nursing leave. To request it, all they need to do is notify their employer 15 days before the beginning and end of the leave.

Although it is a recognized right, it is advisable to request it in writing, for the record, and keep a copy stamped by the company.

Although it is called nursing leave, it is leave for feeding, and that is why the father or the mother can take it

Sometimes they can be accumulated into days

The law provides the possibility of accumulating hours or nursing leave into full days, wherever the collective bargaining agreement or the company's agreements allow it. This way, you can add a little extra on to your maternity leave.

Although it is each sector's bargaining agreement that governs the details, it tends to be the case that the hours amount to 15 continuous days.

Risk to nursing

If a person's job entails any kind of risk to the nursing mother or the baby being breastfed, such as exposure to chemical agents during the working day, the employer must relocate the worker to another position where there are no risks of any kind until the end of the nursing leave.

If that is not possible, the employer contract will be suspended until the baby reaches 9 months, during which time the mother will receive benefits for risk to nursing, which will be 100% of the basic salary (the same amount as given during maternity leave).

This right is recognized in the Workers' Statute and Equality Act. Moreover, recently the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the State and companies must protect pregnant workers and breastfeeding workers equally.

Protection from dismissal

Dismissal during nursing leave or leave for risk to nursing will be annulled. An annulled dismissal means that the worker can choose to receive severance paid at 45 days per year worked, or reincorporation to their post.