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How must we accommodate breastfeeding?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. One of our employees is on maternity leave. What are our obligations to accommodate her need to breastfeed when she returns to work?

A. California law requires every employer to provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee who wants 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 major fraction of four hours). Any break time for lactation purposes that does not run concurrently with the normal rest periods need not be paid.

Employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location (other than a toilet stall) in close proximity to the employee’s work area for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may be the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise satisfies the requirements of the law.

Employers do not have to provide break time for purposes of lactating if doing so would seriously disrupt the employer’s operations.

Violations may result in a $100 civil penalty for each violation.

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