NYC’s New Lactation Room Laws Go Into Effect!
Happy Friday! Now, who’s excited for Monday? I am, for once. And that’s because Monday, March 18th is the day that New York City’s two new lactation room laws go into effect. Int. No. 879-A and Int. No. 905-A place additional obligations on employers to to accommodate employees who choose to pump breast milk during the work day.
In a nutshell:
PRIVATE LACTATION ROOM NOW REQUIRED
Previously, New York City lactation laws required only that employers make “reasonable efforts” to provide employees a private location for purposes of expressing milk.
Gah. The “reasonable” part kills me every time. Because apparently, a lot of employers’ definition of reasonable is putting a sign on the IT closet, which apparently no one bothers to read because Frank the IT guy always seem to walk in at the most inopportune moment.
The recently enacted laws now place an additional obligation on employers, requiring they provide a suitable “lactation room.” It keeps with federal requirements stating that the room must be a place other than a restroom (though it does add the word “sanitary”), shielded from view and free from intrusion.
And here is where things get good. The new law, goes above and beyond to state:
It must have:
- an electrical outlet
- surface on which to place a breast pump
- nearby access to running water
- a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage in reasonable proximity
While the New York City Council’s summary of the law states it applies to employers with 15 or more employees, which is well under the threshold of the federal law of 50 employees, the text of the law itself does not explicitly acknowledge employee thresholds.
Hopefully future action will require smaller employers to be covered by this law as well.
LACTATION ROOM POLICY NOW REQUIRED
Employers are also now required to implement a written lactation room policy notifying employees that they have the right to a lactation room and describing the process by which employees may request use.
If you are NOT in NYC: contact your local representatives to make them aware of this progress and ask them to sponsor similar bills.
If you are an employer in NYC: immediately evaluate your workplace and parental support policies. If you need help satisfying these new requirements, you know where to find us.