Audi Blackstock’s son took to breast-feeding right away. At 29 weeks, Marques is already more than 22lbs pounds and “an active and inquisitive child”,” Blackstock stated. However, about 4 weeks ago she returned to work at Nestlé Jamaica Limited where she is an Assistant Accountant, and was thankful for the facilities in place to support expressing breast-milk for her son.
Nestlé Jamaica promotes gender balance in the workplace and quite recently, the Nutrition Health and Wellness Company embarked on a digital campaign for World Breastfeeding Week, to highlight the importance of breastfeeding in the workplace, with male employees showing support of their female co-workers. A number of other initiatives were introduced in the work place to promote gender balance among the employees.
According to David Heath, Nestlé Jamaica Human Resources Business Partner, “Our employees appreciate the efforts. Audi has worked with Nestlé for 13 years and it’s important that she can access a lactation room with the necessary furnishing and equipment to help her transition back to work.”
“I was initially nervous about the time it took out of the day to breastfeed, and not miss important pieces of my job each day,” Blackstock said. “I never wanted someone to think that I’m taking a break or that I’m missing out on work”.
In this regard, according Country Manager, Daniel Caron, “at Nestlé, the bigger goal, of which breastfeeding is a part, has to do with Diversity and specifically Gender Balance in the workplace. It is about fostering a workplace environment where diverse needs are recognized and facilitated.
“Some of our actions to support a Gender Balanced workplace which accommodates the needs of both men and women include; 14 weeks paid maternity leave, one week paid paternity leave; flexible working hours, a fully furnished lactation room, and mandatory Gender Balance training for all employees,” Heath shared.
He continued, “It takes the support of various segments in society to help our women after giving birth; Immediate and extended family, neighbours, managers and co-workers. Creating that environment to make the transition smoother and easier is a part of the supportive and caring work environment that we seek to create at Nestlé Jamaica,” he ended.