UNICEF HK welcomes family-friendly initiatives outlined by the Policy Address
11 Oct 2018
HONG KONG, 10 October 2018 – The Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) welcomes the family friendly initiatives announced by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR Government, Mrs. Carrie Lam, in her Policy Address today, including:
– Proposing to extend the statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks.
– Stepping up measures to enhance the provision of babycare facilities and lactation rooms in the community. Such measures include imposing a mandatory requirement for the provision of babycare facilities and lactation rooms in the sale conditions of government land sale sites for new commercial developments comprising office premises and/or retail outlets, eating places, etc.; and mandating the provision of babycare facilities and lactation rooms in certain new government premises.
– Continuing to strengthen the promotion of breastfeeding and encourage the implementation of breastfeeding-friendly measures in the community and workplaces, as well as to review and assess the overall effectiveness of implementing the “Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products, and Food Products for Infants & Young Children” through the Committee on Promotion of Breastfeeding under the Food and Health Bureau, with a view to enhancing sustained breastfeeding and promoting breastfeeding as a norm for infant and young child feeding widely accepted by the general public.
UNICEF HK is dedicated to promoting early childhood development, for which parental care plays a key part. By extending the statutory maternity leave to 14 weeks, it helps working parents to achieve a balance between work and family. The government’s taking the lead by implementing such an initiative immediately within its workforce also sets a good example for the rest of the community to follow, including the business sector.
UNICEF HK has been working closely with the business sector, including restaurants, transportation and shopping malls, with the aim to provide more facilities for nursing mothers to breastfeed their babies anytime and anywhere because breastmilk is the most nutritious food for babies and it gives the best protection for the health of both babies and mothers. We look forward to more breastfeeding friendly facilities to be made available through government’s mandatory requirements for the provision of babycare facilities and lactation rooms as new commercial buildings come on stream.
In July, a survey by UNICEF HK concluded that the Hong Kong Code of Marketing of Formula Milk and Related Products, and Food Products for Infants & Young Children (the Hong Kong Code) had not been effective in delivering its objective of safeguarding breastfeeding. We welcome the government’s commitment to fully reviewing and assessing its effectiveness, and would be happy to continue working with relevant authorities to enhance its effective implementation and to encourage adequate and unbiased information to be provided to nursing mothers.
UNICEF HK stands ready to provide input to the government for implementing their measures.