Mothers will be able to bring their babies to work and businesses will be asked to provide them with special breastfeeding facilities under Government plans to be announced this week.
The controversial proposal set out in a White Paper could cost employers thousands a year and business leaders warned last night the move could threaten jobs.
It comes just weeks after the European Parliament voted in favour of the Pregnant Workers Directive, which would introduce mandatory paid breastfeeding breaks for new mothers.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley suggested, however, that Britain would pre-empt the EU by introducing 'family friendly breastfeeding policies' by working with private companies.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that a range of large and small companies will be involved in a pilot scheme to put the policy to the test.
They will be required to provide a room or a screened-off area to give mothers privacy while they breastfeed, and will be expected to be 'flexible' over when women can take breaks.
They will also need to provide a new fridge or coolbox for the exclusive storage of any breast milk expressed by pump to be used later.
Mothers typically spend up to 40 minutes expressing milk and may need to do it several times a day.
The plan could see babies being brought into work to be fed or women being allowed breaks during the working day to go home to breastfeed.
If Ministers deem it successful, it could become standard practice, but employers fear it could be made mandatory.
The Government insists that costs to employers will be minimal but industry sources claim businesses would be hit as women took time out of the working day.
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