California’s breastfeeding protections notably exceed those of other states. State law not only protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public, but also requires public airports to provide lactation spaces, county jails to implement a breastfeeding policy for lactating inmates, and certain hospitals to promote breastfeeding. The Golden State’s workplace lactation laws are better than most, and exceed the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements in that they cover all employees. In fact, the city of San Francisco now has the highest standards for lactation accommodations in the entire country.
We’ve awarded California five drops on our scale.
CA Breastfeeding Laws: In Public
In California, mothers have the right to breastfeed in any public or private place they have a legal right to be. Read the law: ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [11200 - 11218]
CA Breastfeeding Laws: Airports
In California, public airports (those operated by a city, county, or a city and county) are required to provide a private lactation space (that’s not a bathroom) beyond security points for breastfeeding mothers to pump or breastfeed. The space must include at least one chair and an electrical outlet. Read the law: ARTICLE 6. Airports [50470 - 50479]
CA Breastfeeding Laws: County Jails
Every county jail is required to develop and implement a breastfeeding policy for breastfeeding inmates detained in, or sentenced to, a county jail. Read the law: CA AB 2507
California Breastfeeding Laws: Postsecondary Education
In 2018 California passed a law that requires California Community Colleges and the California State University system to provide a private lactation room for breastfeeding students. Read the law: AB 2785
CA Breastfeeding Laws: At Work
Effective January 1, 2020 California state law mandates workplace lactation spaces for all employees. CA law was amended in 2018 to stipulate that the space cannot be a bathroom. (Read the laws: CHAPTER 3.8. Lactation Accommodation [1030 - 1033] and Bill 1976).
The new law—modeled after San Francisco’s Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance—goes far beyond the federal Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) by requiring that all employers provide all breastfeeding employees (not just hourly) with break time and a private space to pump at work. The law also includes specific requirements for lactation spaces stipulating that they must: be in close proximity to where breastfeeding employees work, provide a place to sit and a surface for a pump, provide electrical outlets, and be located near running water and a refrigerator to store pumped breast milk.
CA employers who violate these provisions will incur a civil penalty of $100 per violation. (Employers with fewer than 50 employees may request an exemption, but must prove hardship.) Read the law: SB 142
CA Breastfeeding Laws: Breastfeeding-Positive Municipalities
San Francisco Breastfeeding Laws
San Francisco was the first U.S. city to implement a city-wide lactation policy. The Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance (effective January 1, 2018) requires all employers in San Francisco to provide break time and a lactation space (other than a bathroom) to all breastfeeding employees, including part-time employees. The San Francisco ordinance is more comprehensive than the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in setting quality standards and stipulating that lactation spaces must be clean, include a chair and a surface for a breast pump, be near a sink, and have easy access to a refrigerator. In addition, all San Francisco businesses must have a written lactation accommodation policy that clearly states that employees have a right to request lactation accommodations. Read the law: ARTICLE 33I: LACTATION IN THE WORKPLACE
CA Breastfeeding FYI:
Breastfeeding mothers are exempt from jury duty if requested or if they can provide documentation proving they are currently breastfeeding. California also has the Hospital Infant Feeding Act, which requires all general acute care hospitals and hospitals that have perinatal units to have an infant-feeding policy that provides breastfeeding information.
Mamava designs solutions to empower breastfeeding and pumping mamas on the go, like our freestanding lactation pods and lactation space locator app.
Now that you know the law, what next?
Note: Mamava’s goal is to provide the most up-to-date legislative information available. But federal, state, and municipal laws are constantly evolving—which is a good thing! So if we’ve missed something, we appreciate any additions or corrections. Contact us at [email protected]
Mamava Breastfeeding Laws key
State law protects breastfeeding in public (now true of all states). There are no state-level workplace breastfeeding laws. Breastfeeding mothers, who are paid hourly, are covered by the federal FLSA. Not the breast-case scenario.
State law provides workplace breastfeeding rights for specific employee sectors (e.g., city employees) OR mandates lactation accommodations for specific locations (e.g., airports, municipal buildings).
State law protects all working breastfeeding moms (not just hourly) and exceeds the federal FLSA law.
State law protects all working breastfeeding mothers AND additional state legislation protects specific populations OR mandates lactation accommodations for specific locations.
The gold standard. State law protects all working breastfeeding mothers, identifies standards for lactation spaces (e.g., access to a refrigerator), AND additional state legislation protects specific populations AND mandates lactation accommodations for specific locations.