What are our responsibilities concerning breastfeeding in the workplace? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

What are our responsibilities concerning breastfeeding in the workplace?

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Q. A number of our employees are pregnant. What are our obligations to accommodate their need to breastfeed when they return to work?

A. California law requires every employer, including the state and political subdivisions, to provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for her infant child.

If possible, the break time should run concurrently with any rest period already provided. Nonexempt employees must receive at least one 10-minute, paid rest period for every four hours worked (or a major fraction of four hours). Any break time for lactation purposes that does not run concurrently with normal rest periods does not need to be paid.

The employer must also make reasonable efforts to allow a lactating employee to use a room or other location (other than a toilet stall) in close proximity to her work area for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise satisfies the requirements of the law.

An employer is not required to provide an employee break time for purposes of lactating if doing so would seriously disrupt the employer’s operations.

An employer that violates the law is subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each violation.

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