NTUC U Family announces winners of inaugural Liquid Gold Awards

Published on 26 July 2016

Left: Ms Toh Hwee Tin, Director of NTUC U Family, presents certificates to representatives from Sembcorp Industries, recipient of Nurturing Workplace award

Right: Representatives from IRAS, recipient of Nurturing Workplace award, with their award certification and terrarium gift

NTUC U Family has announced the winners of the Liquid Gold Awards on 4 August 2015, Tuesday, to give recognition to companies with breastfeeding-friendly policies and facilities in place, and supportive colleagues who helped make the breastfeeding journey successful for working mums. (Please refer to Annex A for the full list of awardees)

The awards is a new initiative under U Family’s Project Liquid Gold campaign, which was launched in May 2013 to advocate for more support for working mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies after they return to work from their maternity leave, and to raise awareness of the importance of breastfeeding.

In this inaugural edition, the awards comprise three categories - Nurturing Workplace, Creative Lactation Space and Liquid Gold Supporter. NTUC U Family is currently making its rounds to a total of nine companies and individuals who have won the awards, presenting the winners with an award certificate each to acknowledge their tireless efforts to supportbreastfeeding amongst working mums, as well as a gift of a terrarium, which symbolises the winners’ spirit of a nurturing and caring mother and employer.

Nurturing Workplace category

Employers play an integral role in allaying the concerns of a nursing mother. This award category acknowledges companies with breastfeeding-friendly policies in place, such as supportive culture, provision of lactation rooms and breaks, and offering work schedule flexibility.

The Inland Revenue of Singapore (IRAS), one of the three organisations to receive the Nurturing Workplace award, displayed great understanding of challenges faced by nursing mums at the workplace. A lactation room, fully equipped for mothers to express and store breastmilk, is provided to support working mothers. As the building owner, IRAS also promotes breastfeeding in the workplace by extending the use of the lactation room to its tenants upon request.

Creative Lactation Space category

This second award category identifies and shows support to breastfeeding working mums with innovative ideas, and have created their own pumping areas when there is no private space or lactation room available.  

Some mothers who are always on the move at work face additional challenges to continue breastfeeding. Ms Kristy Melissa, owner of a pancake café, initially had problems finding an appropriate space and time to express. Determined not to let circumstances affect her breastfeeding goals, she invested in a hands-free pump set which allows her to pump milk while running the café. She has successfully breastfed her infant for 3.5 months, and wishes to continue for as long as she can.

Liquid Gold Supporter category

Apart from the necessary facilities to enable breastfeeding, assistance and understanding from colleagues also go a long way in helping breastfeeding mums. This last award category aims to recognise supportive colleagues who had helped to make the breastfeeding journey successful for working mums.

As one of the three Liquid Gold Supporter awardees, Ms Wan Fen from the Singapore Eye Research Institute has been a strong pillar of support and encouragement for her colleague, Ms Ho Kee Ka, for her entire breastfeeding journey of 15 months. While not a mother herself, Ms Wan Fen went out of her way to ensure her colleague is able to express with ease and in privacy, and even helped to convert a room in the office to a lactation room by covering up a glass panel in the room with huge posters. Understanding that nursing mothers may face excruciating blocked ducts or other issues if they do not express on time, she constantly reminded her colleague to pump and would even offer to cover her work which required them to travel around the island occasionally.               

Encouraging nursing mothers continue their breastfeeding journey

As part of its Project Liquid Gold initiative, NTUC U Family has started the Workplace Breastfeeding Mentor Programme in March this year to raise awareness on the need for greater and concerted efforts of colleagues and employers to support women to achieve their breastfeeding goals. Under this programme, breastfeeding mentors are trained by trainers from the Association for Breastfeeding Advocacy Singapore (ABAS) to offer emotional support and breastfeeding advice to fellow breastfeeding colleagues in their companies.

Office building owners, management corporations and developers are also able to tap on the WorkPro Work-Life grant for funding and incentives to create and sustain a more supportive environment for Singaporeans to form and raise families. The grant offers co-funding of up to 50% of expenditure per office building, capped at $20,000, on selected employee support schemes such as building of lactation facilities.

Commenting on the myriad of challenges faced by working mothers who still breastfeed or are exclusively pumping for their children, Ms Toh Hwee Tin, Director of NTUC U Family, said, “While breastfeeding is a personal choice, for working mothers it is a journey that they are determined to embark on despite the difficulties and stress that they may encounter, while pursuing their career ambitions, or contributing to their family’s resources. We urge employers and building owners to make change happen, look into the provision of adequate facilities and pro-breastfeeding policies at the workplace, and foster a culture of understanding and support among their employees to ease the journey of breastfeeding mums.”

Click HERE to view Annex A.

Tags: Awards laud efforts by companies and individuals in encouraging working mothers to continue their breastfeeding journey

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