California Lactation Law for Workers

Nursing mothers have rights in the workplace regarding the need to lactate, and California enacted a law in 2020 that explicitly denotes the rights and obligations of employees and employers regarding this issue. If you or someone that you know at work is being denied the right to take a break for lactation you may have a claim against your employer for compensation. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact an experienced California employment law attorney in your area today.

Employee Lactation Rights

According to the California Labor Code, every employer must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate a lactating employee, including state and political subdivision employers. If possible, this break time must run concurrently with break time already provided to the employee, but if it cannot then it does not have to be paid. In addition, employers must make reasonable efforts to provide an area for lactation other than a bathroom that is close to the employee’s work area where they can express milk in private. This can include the employee’s own work area if it is private, like a personal office. If there are financial, space, or operational limitations a lactation area can be set up in a temporary space, but that space must still be private and for the express use of lactation purposes for the employee.

Additional Lactation Room Protocols

On January 1, 2020, California enacted additional laws regarding employee lactation rights. The labor code was amended to include the requirements that the lactation room established for lactating employees must provide a surface to place a breast pump and personal items, a place to sit, access to electricity, a sink with running water, and a refrigerator or cooler for storing breast milk. The room must be clean, safe, and free of hazardous materials. In addition, employers must create a written lactation policy and include it in their materials for new hires or employees that ask about this issue or other matters of parental leave.

Federal Employee Protections

In addition to the California laws protecting employees that are lactating, federal laws provide additional protection and recourse when an employer fails to meet these standards. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that covered employers provide unpaid, reasonable break time for a lactating employee for up to one year after the child’s birth. Federal law also requires that employers provide a private place for lactation to occur that is not a bathroom. To learn more about your rights as an employee, talk to an employment lawyer today.

Call or Contact an Employment Attorney Today

The rights of breastfeeding and lactating employees has come a long way in the last few decades, and workers have more rights than ever to a safe, clean, and private environment to lactate while on the job. If you or a co-worker are not being provided with these requirements for your lactation needs, you may have a claim against your employer. To learn more, call or contact an experienced California employment lawyer in your area today.