Who: California employers
When: January 1, 2020
All California employers must make a lactation room available to breastfeeding employees. The rooms must meet the following requirements:
- It can’t be a bathroom
- Be in close proximity to the employee’s work space
- Provide privacy, so as to be protected from view
- A private space that won’t allow intruders while the employee is pumping
- Safe, clean, free of hazardous materials
- A surface to place a breast pump and personal items
- A place to sit
- Access to electricity or charging stations
- Access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator
If the space is used for other activities, lactation must be prioritized over other activities.
Employees must be allowed reasonable break times and space under rest period laws, an employer can be fined up to $100 per day if they violate these provisions.
Employers must develop and implement a company policy about accommodating lactation. The policy must include:
- The employee’s right to request lactation accommodations
- The process for requesting lactation accommodation
- The employer’s obligation to respond to accommodation requests
- The employee’s right to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner
The policy must be included in the employee handbook or other set of policies that the employer makes readily available to employees. The policy must be distributed to new employees at the time of hire and when an employee asks about or requests parental leave. If the employer can’t provide a break time or location that is compliant with the company policy, the employer is required to provide a written response to the employee.
Specific Provisions and Exemptions
Specific provisions were made for multitenant or multiemployer worksites may provide a shared space at a worksite, if they’re unable to provide a lactation accommodation within their own space. Employers have two business days to respond to requests under this provision.
Temporary accommodations are acceptable when a result of operational, financial, or space limitations but these spaces can’t be a bathroom and must otherwise comply with the new law.
Employers with less than 50 employees may be exempted, if the employer can demonstrate undue hardship based on company size, financial resources, or the nature of the business.
- Assess whether your current lactation accommodations are compliant with the new law and if you will need to make changes to the physical space. Consult with your legal counsel if necessary.
- Review and update your policies and procedures about lactation accommodation to be compliant with the new law.
- Develop a policy that is compliant with the new law that you will include in your employee handbook or with your other policies.
- Determine how you will distribute the policy to your new hires and employees asking about parental leave.