California Workplace Lactation Requirements
Recently California passed a new law that requires workplaces to offer particular lactation provisions for their staff starting from January 1, 2020. Also, this law enhances the rights of nursing mothers and imposes harsher penalties on those employers who flout these rules.
SB 142, the new law, which defines the requirements imposed on California employers to ensure they support mothers who desire to pump breast milk for babies, was signed into law by Gov. Newsom in October.
The law bans businesses from being biased or retaliating against members of their workforce who decide to nurse, besides, it states that workplaces should provide women with a proper environment to pump their breast milk.
The law stipulates that failure to provide appropriate break time or enough space to express milk is a contravention of the requirement to offer a rest period as outlined in state law.
Employers must Give Women Private and Safe Lactation Areas Besides Bathrooms
These spaces must be near the women’s work stations, secured from view, and with no disruptions during usage. Additional conditions include: that the specified area has to have furniture for sitting, and a surface that can hold personal items, and a breast pump.
The designated space also has to have electricity and charging stations, so that an employee can power their battery-powered or electric breast pump. Also, employers must install a sink with running water in the space and provide a refrigerator that is suitable for preserving breast milk.
However, as the law states, if a refrigerator is not available, an alternative suitable cooling device is enough. If a business selects a specific shared break room or any other office space that is utilized for other operations, space must be kept completely private when lactation breaks are ongoing.
A fine of $100 A Day if Failed to Comply with the Requirements
For instance, businesses with under 50 employees who can demonstrate that these legal conditions would lead to “undue hardship” and impose significant hardship and costs concerning the scale, financial capacity, nature, or composition of the business, can be exempted.
If the business can show that it could create affliction, the employer must implement reasonable actions to assist a woman by allowing access and usage of a space or a room apart from a toilet stall.
Lastly, the state demands that organizations put into practice a written lactation policy starting from 1st January 2020. This written policy, which must be circulated to employees, must have instructions on the steps employees can use to seek lactation accommodations, how organizations should act, and the procedure for lodging complaints.
Failure to comply with any of the highlighted requirements will attract a fine of $100 per day. You can access and review an example of a lactation policy and adherence rules from the resource library of the California Dental Association.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to help your practice grow – don’t forget to download our FREE 43-page Report on Increasing Case Sizes and Collections.