Lactation Accommodation and Breastfeeding Breaks in California

Governor Newsome recently signed SB 142 into law, which amends the existing Labor Codes 1030 and 1030 as well as adds section 1034 concerning an employer’s duty to accommodate lactating workers. The new regulation requires employers to develop and implement a lactation policy that complies with SB 142. These new regulations become effective on January 1, 2020. The following will review some of the most noteworthy changes put in place by this new regulation.

Reasonable Amount of Time

A reasonable amount of time must be provided every time a worker needs to express breastmilk. The break time to do so must run concurrently with any break that is already provided to the worker. Lactation times that do not run concurrently with authorized break times are unpaid.

Providing a Lactation Location

Under the new regulations, employers must provide a lactation location that is close to the worker’s work area. This area must be guarded against the view of others and free from interference. An employer must make sure that the location meets several other requirements. The spot must be the following criteria:

  • Be safe from hazardous materials

  • Contain a surface to place a breast pump and other personal items

  • Contain a place to sit

  • Have access to either electricity or alternative devices

  • Include access to a sink with running water and refrigerator

Multi-Employer Worksites

Employers who operate in multi-employer worksites have several unique options, which include the following:

  • Complying by providing a space shared among employers within the building or worksite if the employer cannot provide a lactation location within the worker’s own work area.

  • Employers coordinating a multi-employer worksite must either provide lactation accommodations or a safe and secure location for a subcontractor worker to provide lactation accommodation on the worksite within two days of a written request of any subcontract employer.

  • Temporary locations are not acceptable unless the spot is temporary as a result of either financial, operational, or space limitations. Temporary locations cannot include a bathroom or toilet stalls.

Exceptions Related to Accommodation Locations

The new breastfeeding regulation provides a limited exception to requirements for some employers. Employers who retain less than 50 employers may be found exempt from the new accommodation requirement it can be shown that the new requirements would create an undue hardship resulting in difficulty or expense given the company’s size, nature, and structure.

Violations of These Laws

Workers who believe an employer has violated these regulations can initiate a complaint with the Labor Commission, who can issue a citation and impose civil penalties. The penalty is $100 for each day that a worker is denied either adequate space or reasonable break time to lactate.

Speak with an Experienced California Employment Law Attorney

If you or a loved one has been denied any of the lactation requirements under this new regulation, do not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney at our law firm today.