The House of Representatives has passed the second reading bill of creating creche in public and private offices.
The bill also seeks to allow the establishment of creches in hospitals and other workplaces.
A member of the house, Sergius Ogun sponsored this proposal contained in the Labour Act.
The legislation is titled:
‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Labour Act, Cap. L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Make Provision for Establishment of Creches in Every Public or Private (Health, Educational, Industrial or Commercial, Etc.) Workplace for Employees Who are Breastfeeding/Nursing Mothers; and for Related Matters.’
The goal of the act was “to make provision for the establishment of crèches in public and private workplaces for employees who are breastfeeding/nursing mothers.”
Ogun spoke on the recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. According to the member, the WHO and United Children’s Fund recommended the early introduction of breastfeeding to newborns.
He said that health experts advised the start of safe solid foods after six months. Ogun added that breastfeeding should be continued for up to two years of age.
He explained that the breastfeeding rate was as low as 29 per cent. This data was revealed by the Minister for Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire during the 2021 Breastfeeding week.
The lawmaker quoted the Minister saying only 9 per cent of organisations in Nigeria have creches.
He said, “This bill, therefore, seeks to amend the Labour Act. So as to make provision for the establishment of crèches in public and private workplaces for employees who are breastfeeding/nursing mothers.
“The extant provisions of the Labour Act, which provides for four months maternity leave for nursing mothers, may be insufficient for mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for up to six months as recommended. Therefore, the availability of crèches in workplaces will allow nursing mothers to resume work and still be able to breastfeed their babies as recommended by the WHO and UNICEF.
“This has the potential to provide stronger immunity, reduced risk of infections and resistance to childhood diseases.
“This will also go a long way in enhancing the productivity of such employees, knowing that their children are in safe hands. While reducing the rate of low breastfeeding. it will also reduce the rate of infant mortality.”
Ogun also cited Clause 2 of the bill: That every employer should provide a crèche facility within the workplace.
“Where employees who are breastfeeding and/or nursing mothers can keep their sucking children within work hours under the watch of a nanny employed by the employer at a reasonable fee.”
He stated, “This bill, when passed into law, will enhance the productivity of working-class nursing mothers. As well as reduce the rate of infant mortality in the country.”
Source: PUNCH HealthWise