October 15, 2019
The Golden State’s New Lactation Law
Gets a Gold Star
California does it again! Pumping at work can suck for breastfeeding moms, but the Golden state’s new legislation means it will soon suck a lot less.
Effective January 1, 2020, California’s new law (SB-142) requires all employers to provide breastfeeding employees with a private (non-bathroom) lactation space that’s in close proximity to where they work.
California’s new state law far exceeds the level of protections provided by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by covering all breastfeeding employees (the FLSA applies only to hourly workers). While both the federal law and California state law stipulates that lactation spaces must be private, non-bathroom spaces, the FLSA doesn’t include other space requirements. The new law, however, is modeled after San Francisco’s Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance—the first city in the nation to mandate such comprehensive protections for all employees—and extends San Francisco’s stringent lactation space requirements to all employers in the state. According to the new law, all workplace lactation spaces must:
Be clean and free of any hazardous materials
Have a space to sit and surface for a breast pump
Provide electrical outlets
Be in “close proximity” to where employees work
Have close access to running water and a refrigerator to store pumped breast milk
In addition, the law requires all employers to develop and implement a lactation accommodation policy—complete with a statement of an employee’s right and the process for lactation accommodations requests—for breastfeeding employees. Any violations of the law will be investigated by the Labor Commissioner, and may result in penalties of $100 for each day that an employee is denied reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk.
By passing this new law (kudos to Governor Newsom!), California is leading the way on progressive legislation that increases support for working, breastfeeding moms. And, based on Mamava’s five point drip scale, California has now earned the first and only 5-star status in the country!
Mamava designs solutions to empower breastfeeding and pumping mamas on the go, like our freestanding lactation pods and lactation space locator app.