Returning to work poses a challenge for many working women who want to continue to breastfeed their children. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of life and continued breastfeeding for two years and beyond due to a range of indisputable health benefits it offers children and mothers. However, this is often not made easy or possible in many workplaces, indirectly depriving babies and mothers to reap these benefits.
PT OMRON Manufacturing of Indonesia (OMI)1 has however set an exemplary model in supporting its female workforce, and their children, through a comprehensive breastfeeding campaign, fostering a healthy and inclusive workplace.
With 83% of its 2500 employees being women, OMI acknowledges the pivotal role of supporting maternal health in enhancing productivity. “By improving the working conditions and taking care of the female employees’ health, the company can increase productivity and efficiency, creating a stable workforce,” says Trifilia Indriastiwi, Safety and Health Manager at OMI.
Indriastiwi believes that being able to breastfeed for six months exclusively is many mothers’ dream, including working mothers. To support its female employees in balancing their work and childcare responsibilities, OMI has developed a breastfeeding initiative in 2016 already.
The company’s commitment however extends beyond facilities. Indriastiwi’s participation in the GAIN Workforce Nutrition Alliance Masterclass2 series underlines OMI’s dedication to continually enhancing their breastfeeding support programme with full support from the Employment Social Security Administration of Indonesia or known as BPJS Ketenagakerjaan.
What their breastfeeding initiative entails
Indriastiwi’s explains that OMI has a lactation room in the factory area which is supervised by health professionals and equipped with complete supporting facilities, including breast pumps and sterilizers. The company also has a policy that provides break time for nursing mothers to breastfeed their children, which is twice for 30 minutes in one shift, and also offers three months of maternity leave.
In addition to this, OMI established a 24-hour daycare service on-site for children under two years old in 2019. The service allows breastfeeding mothers to bring their children to work and directly breastfeed them. To ensure the children’s well-being, a pediatrician will visit the daycare every week. OMI also holds health workshops every Thursday for pregnant and breastfeeding employees conducted by doctors or breastfeeding counselors. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers have a WhatsApp group to facilitate communication and coordination during the breastfeeding campaign.
Indriastiwi is proud to share that OMI’s breastfeeding initiative received the Mitra Bakti Husada award from the Governor of West Java and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia in 2022 This prestigious award is given to companies who implement GP2SP: Gerakan Pekerja Perempuan Sehat Produktif (Productive Healthy Woman Worker Movement) in their company. “By implementing breastfeeding support at work, we are not only showing our commitment to our employees, but also setting an example for other companies to follow. Receiving this award is a testament to our dedication to creating a healthy and supportive work environment for our employees,” says Indriastiwi.
Indriastiwi also shares that OMI has achieved several positive outcomes since establishing its breastfeeding campaign. “We observed a reduction of employee turnover after childbirth, decreased sick leaves, and lower absenteeism due to childcare responsibilities.”
Challenges and future opportunities
No programme however comes without its challenges. Indriastiwi says the accessibility of lactation rooms remains a concern, with only one room across a vast worksite. OMI aims to address this by strategically placing more lactation rooms by 2024. Additionally, reinstating the breast milk delivery service in 2024 signifies the company’s proactive stance in continually refining its support system.
OMI’s journey illustrates how companies can proactively empower women in the workforce. “Supporting breastfeeding at work has positively impacted our employees’ productivity. I joined the Workforce Nutrition Masterclass to increase my capacity to strengthen our breastfeeding initiatives while also increasing my knowledge to equip me to raise employee awareness of a healthy diet since it is linked to the nutritional status of breastfeeding mothers.”
 PT OMRON Manufacturing of Indonesia (OMI) is a subsidiary of OMRON Corporation Japan, a renowned global leader in industrial automation, healthcare, social systems, and device module solutions.
 The Workforce Nutrition Alliance Masterclass is a course designed to assist organizations in the strategic planning, developing, and executing of a comprehensive workforce nutrition programme. Over the span of 3 months, participants partake in a blended learning experience, consisting of interactive virtual group training sessions, online access to exclusive tools and resources, and one-on-one coaching sessions. This capacity-building programme is an excellent opportunity to learn and connect with like-minded professionals from across the globe, such as in-house HR managers, sustainability executives and other managers or consultants concerned with employee wellness. The time investment is approximately 2 hours per week.
There are still a few spaces available for the upcoming WNA Masterclass which will run from 27 March to 19 June 2024. Click here to learn more.