Accommodation for my Department and its Offices is provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in buildings which are either State owned or leased by the OPW on our behalf. The Department and its Offices are located in 11 locations across the country, six of which are in Dublin and five regionally. Typically, the Department and its Offices are in shared accommodation, either with other Government Departments, public bodies or the private sector. The Department works closely with OPW colleagues to ensure the provision of appropriate, fit-for-purpose accommodation for our staff.
In line with Section 9 of the Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004 and Part 9 of Department of Finance Circular 2006/31, staff may avail of breastfeeding breaks or paid reduction in their working hours from 26 to 104 weeks for children up to the age of two years.
In adherence to Regulations of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 my Department provides Rest Rooms in all 11 (100%), of its locations which, while not solely dedicated spaces for breastfeeding and expressing of breast milk, may be used by staff for these purposes during working hours.
Also in respect of the Offices of my Department, in locations where they may be tenants of a managed service company or in a building managed by a major tenant, they have identified private rooms that can be used by staff for the purpose of breastfeeding and expressing breast milk. All Offices are satisfied that they are in a position to make suitable facilities available to staff for this purpose whenever such a need arises.
These various arrangements across my Department and its Offices assist in supporting mothers in employment and in enhancing female labour market participation which is one of the core objectives of the National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020.