Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (390)

Gerry Adams

Question:

390. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no breastfeeding provision for special needs assistants in schools; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that teachers have entitlements to breastfeeding breaks; if this matter will be rectified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20016/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Circular 17/2013 issued by my Department, deals with the Maternity Protection entitlements, including provision for breastfeeding, for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools.

Paragraph 14.1 of Circular 17/2013 states:

" Within a twenty six week period after the birth of the child, a special needs assistant who has returned to work is entitled to one hour per day for the purpose of breastfeeding. The time off, without loss of pay, may be taken as follows:

(a) one break of 60 minutes, or

(b) two breaks of 30 minutes each, or

(c) three breaks of 20 minutes each.”

Following consultation with school and staff representatives my Department published Circular 60/2018 which amended the entitlement to breastfeeding breaks for teachers so that the breaks could be taken for a two year period after the birth of the child. Consideration is now being given to a similar provision for SNAs.