New York City Lactation Laws: What You Need to Know
When it comes to supporting breastfeeding employees, New York City is one of the best cities in the country. In addition to existing state-level laws that provide protections for working breastfeeding moms, the Big Apple passed two new laws in 2018 that ensure even greater protections.
One of these laws (Int. 879-A) requires employers to provide a private dedicated lactation space (not a bathroom) for all breastfeeding employees in close proximity to where employees work. In addition, lactation spaces need to have nearby access to running water and a refrigerator to store expressed milk.
The other law (Int. 905-A) requires employers to provide a written lactation accommodation policy to ensure breastfeeding employees know about their workplace rights. Both laws go into effect March 18, 2019. If you’re unsure how to be in compliance, here are the two key things you need to do.
1) Provide a private lactation space.
The New York City law stipulates that lactation spaces must:
Be a sanitary space that’s not a bathroom
Provide an electrical outlet, a chair, and a surface for a pump
Be in close proximity to work areas
Be close to running water and a refrigerator
2) Provide a written lactation accommodation policy.
A written lactation accommodation policy clearly sets out the following:
A clear process to submit a request for lactation accommodations (see NYC’s model form here)
Expectations for when employers respond to requests (the law stipulates within five business days)
A procedure to follow if more than one breastfeeding mother needs to use the lactation space at the same time