Effective in January 2019, California Assembly Bill 1976 amended Labor Code Section 1031 to match federal FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) requirements, signed into law on March 23, 2010 (United States Department of Labor) that lactation areas must be somewhere other than a restroom.
The California Lactation Accommodate [1030 – 1033] Law applies to all employers in the state of California regardless of the business’ size. An employer which violates this law may be penalized one hundred dollars ($100) for each violation.
Chapter 2.8 Lactation Accommodation [1030 – 1033] (Chapter 3.8 added by Stats. 2001, Ch 821, Sec 1.)
(a) An employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide an employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of this section.
(b) An employer who makes a temporary lactation location available to an employee shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section if all of the following conditions are met:
- The employer is unable to provide a permanent lactation location because of operational, financial, or space limitations.
- The temporary lactation location is private and free from intrusion while an employee expresses milk.
- The temporary lactation location is used only for lactation purposes while an employee expresses milk.
- The temporary lactation location otherwise meets the requirements of state law concerning lactation accommodation.
(c) An agricultural employer, as defined in Section 1140.4, shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section if the agricultural employer provides an employee wanting to express milk with a private, enclosed, and shaded space, including, but not limited to, an air-conditioned cab of a truck or tractor.
(d) If an employer can demonstrate to the department that the requirement to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom would impose an undue hardship when considered in relation to the size, nature, or structure of the employer’s business, an employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide an employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private.
Additional Ordinances Required by Some Cities
Many states, including some cities, have created additional rules and requirements regarding lactation accommodation.
The OLSE (Office of Labor Standards Enforcement) promulgates these rules pursuant to Chapter 2A, Article 1, Section 2A.23 of the San Francisco Administrative Code and Article 331 of the San Francisco Police Code has additional requirements which have to be implemented:
The lactation in the workplace ordinance requires employers to:
- Provide a reasonable amount of break time for employees to express breast milk;
- Provide a location for lactation, other than a bathroom, that:
- Is shielded from view and free from intrusion;
- Is safe and clean;
- Contains a surface;
- Contains a place to sit;
- Has access to electricity;
- Provide access to a refrigerator and a sink with running water; and
- Develop and implement a lactation accommodation policy that affirms an employee’s right to lactation accommodation and explains how employees may request it.
Remember to check your cities’ policies just in case there are additional requirements that need to be included.
Breastfeeding Laws in Other States
Twenty-nine states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming), the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace.
If you are looking for more detailed information about breastfeeding laws, check out the National Conference of State Legislatures website for information on breastfeeding laws in other states.
Resources for Employers
With many mothers returning to the workplace, it is a real concern of both the employer and the employee to find accommodations that help both parties. Since the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization all recommend feeding infants breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months after birth and recommend breast milk continue to be part of an infant’s diet until age 1 or 2 years having a place for your employees (nursing moms).
- California Department of Public Heath – Lactation Accommodation Laws, Workplace and School
- U.S. Department of Labor – Break Time for Nursing Mothers
- State of California Department of Industrial Relations – Lactation Accommodation Q&A
- US Dept of Health and Human Services – Supporting Nursing Moms at Work
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)