Da Tian Subic Shoes, Inc. (also known as Da Tian Philippines), makers of Vans shoes in the Philippines, recently opened two lactation stations in its work premises for its breastfeeding workers. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Da Tian President Vincent Chen, who dedicated the lactation stations to the working mothers in the factory. “We are grateful for their contributions, and that is why, with the support of VF Corporation, we are offering a hassle-free workplace that enables them to better balance the demands of work and family.”
In photo (front, from left to right): Joy Alvarado, Da Tian Corporate Secretary; Melvin Varias, SBMA Labor Department Manager; Vincent Chen; Solomon Jacalne, SBMA Public Health and Safety Department Manager; (second row, from left to right, applauding): Hope Esquillo-Tura, Save the Children Philippines’ Senior Manager for Business Development; Riri Siti Malikah, The Centre’s Asia Director of Services and Product; and Claudio Castro, VF Corporation’s Philippine representative.
Since 2021, VF Corporation has been supporting to enhance the workplace environment at one of VF’s supplier factories in the Philippines, the Da Tian Subic Shoes, Inc., also known as Da Tian Philippines. VF is working in partnership with The Centre for Child Rights and Business (The Centre) and Save the Children Philippines, in creating a family-friendly workplace and formulating an appropriate policy to support this initiative.
The Lactation Stations
Da Tian Philippines established two lactation stations to provide a safe and comfortable place for mothers to express their milk while working, and to bring the milk home, so their infants will have a continuous supply of breastmilk even while they are away.
The need for a lactation room was one of the highlights of the assessment done in 2022, through a baseline survey conducted jointly by The Centre and Save the Children Philippines. One of the highlights of the survey was the lack of a written breastfeeding policy, as mandated by the Philippine government, as well as the absence of appropriate facilities to support lactating mothers.
Female workers expressed the desire for a lactation room with proper milk storage. Without this, they had to use the restrooms for expressing breastmilk and with the lack of refrigerated storage, had to throw them away.
VF, The Centre and Save the Children worked closely with the factory management, to meet the primary objective of compliance with the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 (Republic Act 10028) and relevant Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) and Department of Health (DOH) regulations. The Centre and Save the Children provided practical guidance, including standardised policy templates, requirement for breastfeeding rooms, recommendations for forming a team responsible for the formulation and implementation of the family-friendly workplace policy. A communication strategy for the use of the lactation rooms is currently being developed.
On International Children’s Day, June 1, 2023, we inaugurated the lactation stations in a simple ceremony attended by officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the Philippine regulatory agency in-charge of the Freeport where the factory is located. They are Melvin Varias and Solomon Jacalne, managers of the Labor Department and Public Health and Safety Department, respectively. Representatives from VF, Save the Children, and The Centre were also present. The lactation rooms policies and usage guidelines were approved by Da Tian Philippines management on June 12, 2023.
Family-Friendly Workplace Policy
In developing this policy, Save the Children Philippines conducted a Training of Trainers (ToT) at the supplier factory. The session focused on creating a family-friendly workplace and formulating an appropriate policy to support this initiative. Representatives from the supplier factory management participated in this training.
The guidance provided in the ToT session aimed to tailor the policy according to the local regulations, VF's expectations, and industry best practices. The policy underwent rigorous review by The Centre, Save the Children Philippines, VF, and Da Tian Philippines to ensure compliance with legal requirements and to set a benchmark for other factories in the region.
The Family-Friendly Workplace Policy received formal approval from supplier factory management on June 12, 2023. Currently, the supplier factory teams are actively engaged in the orientation of expat supervisors and line leaders to ensure the effective implementation of these policies.
This project represents a substantial step towards creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace for parent workers and children within VF Corporation's supplier factory. The commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders have been pivotal in these achievements.
We look forward to observing the positive impact of these changes on employees at VF’s supplier factory and their families as we continue to advance the cause of child rights and a family-friendly work environment within VF's supply chain.