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Your Right to Lactate

September 8, 2014 Legal Team

Mothers who want to breastfeed and still return to work can face difficulties, including simply finding a time and place to express breast milk when they are not with their babies.

In California, a specific law provides for “Lactation Accommodation” –what an employer is required to do so a breastfeeding employee can do what she needs to while at work.

The law requires employers to:

  • Provide a reasonable amount of break time so that an employee can express milk.  As many mothers know, it can take fifteen or twenty minutes to “pump,” and a standard 10-minute rest break might not be enough.
  • Provide a place for the employee to express milk near her work station – and not in a toilet stall.
  • Make arrangements to ensure the room or place is private, such as putting up blinds or window coverings or adding a lock to normally unlocked doors.

If an employer fails to live up to its obligations, it can be cited by the State Labor Commissioner and fined.