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The New NYC Lactation Room Laws

Breast PumpNYC New Lactation Law Room Law Will be in Effect on March 18, 2019

In late 2018, New York City passed two new laws requiring employers with 15 or more employees to: 1) provide a lactation room for breastfeeding employees; and 2) establish an accommodation request process and policies for nursing employees. These new laws are set to take effect on March 18, 2019, and provide protections specifically for employees that have recently given birth and need to breastfeed or use a breast pump for expressing breast milk.

Lactation Room

Beginning March 18, 2019 employers must designate a non-restroom lactation area that is private and has nearby access to running water, an electrical outlet, a chair, and a surface sufficient to hold a breast pump and other personal items. Furthermore, employers must also provide a refrigerator for storing breast milk and both the refrigerator and lactation room must be reasonably close to the employees’ work area. The lactation room may be used for other purposes; however, the employer must make it clear that lactating employees have priority in using the room.

If it would be an undue hardship for an employer to provide a lactation room, the employer must have a cooperative dialogue with the employee about alternative reasonable accommodations and then provide a written statement to the employee identifying any accommodations granted or denied.

Lactation Accommodation Policy

Similarly, on March 18, 2019, employers will be required to distribute a written policy regarding employee rights to use a lactation room, as well as the process for requesting use, to all new hires. The lactation accommodation policy must include the following:

  • Set forth the procedure for requesting use of the lactation room;
  • Require the employer to respond to a request for a lactation room within five business days;
  • Establish a procedure for when two or more employees need to use the lactation room at the same time;
  • A clear statement that the employer shall provide reasonable break time for use of the lactation room (pursuant to Section 206-c of the New York Labor Law); and
  • Lay out the procedure for a cooperative dialogue if the request for a lactation room poses an undue hardship on the employer.

Employers are further required to maintain records relating to lactation room requests, including the date of the request and how it was resolved, for at least three years.

These new laws are set to take effect on March 19, 2019, and many employers may not be aware of the new duties imposed on them. If your employer refuses to accommodate your lactation needs they may be violating your rights. Please contact Borrelli & Associates today for a consultation.

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