San Francisco’s New Lactation Accommodation Laws

San Francisco’s “Lactation in the Workplace” Ordinance has increased protections for nursing mothers in San Francisco.

While the California Labor Code and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act already require most employers to make reasonable efforts to provide lactation breaks and locations to nursing mothers, this Ordinance goes further than existing law in:

  • requiring an employer to provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s child, and
  • providing specific requirements for lactation areas, employer policies, and record keeping.

The Ordinance applies to all employers in San Francisco unless they can establish that compliance would impose an undue hardship.

The Ordinance requires employers to provide a lactation area for a nursing mother that is clean and free of hazardous materials, contains a chair and surface space for a breast pump (e.g., a table or counter), and has access to electricity. The lactation area may be available for non-lactation uses, but:

  • an employee’s lactation breaks must take precedence over other uses
  • the employer must provide notice to other employees of the room’s primary function

Employers in multi-tenant buildings that cannot accommodate the employee within the employer’s workspace may also meet the lactation location requirements by designating a room or space that is shared with other tenants in the building.

If your employer is not providing lactation accommodation in the workplace, please contact the attorneys at the California Employment Legal Group today for a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer who will clearly explain your rights and options under the law.