The Ghana Health Service has suspended a nursing mother Rita Adu-Kyie of the Odumase CHPS Compound for taking her baby to work to breastfeed.
Ms. Adu-Kyie is on a two-week suspension since July 5, 2017. According to the suspension letter, the community health nurse will forfeit part of her July salary as part of her punishment.
“My outfit is suspending you from work for two (2) weeks with immediate effect due to your refusal to take verbal instructions from me not to bring your baby to work,” the Municipal Director of Health Services Martin Osafo Osei stated in the letter.
“More so, you have been warned on several occasions against this conduct,” the letter read in part.
“It should come to your notice that this development may affect your monthly salary for July, 2017 during the period of your suspension and on resumption of duty to work you are expected to report to the Municipal Health Director of Health Service,” it concluded.
According to the Labour Act (Act 651) of Ghana, Section – 57: “(6) A nursing mother is entitled to interrupt her work for an hour during her working hours to nurse her baby.
(7) Interruptions of work by a nursing mother for the purpose of nursing her baby shall be treated as working hours and paid for accordingly.
(8) An employer shall not dismiss a woman worker because of her absence from work on maternity leave.
(9) In this Part” (b) “nursing mother” means a woman with a child suckling at her breast for a period of not more than one year.”
Speaking about the issue, HR Expert Kofi Okyere said the laws allow breastfeeding at the work place, but for the baby to be with the mother all day is “problematic and could impede productivity.”
However, Mr. Okyere noted “some of these issues could be handled with a human face… I can only advise her to appeal on humanitarian grounds for her salary to be restored as well as expunge the suspension from her records.”