Does My Employer Have to Accommodate Lactation Needs? 

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Posted by Legal Team On November 15, 2023

When you have had a baby, you may take some time off to create that important bond and help your child with their first months of life. Yet, many parents worry about what happens when they go back to work, especially if they are breastfeeding. You may know you need to breastfeed while at work or at least pump at this time. Does your employer have to accommodate your lactation needs, though?

Under California law, your employer most certainly has to allow for this. If you feel your rights have been violated in this area, we encourage you to contact our employment attorney in Los Angeles for immediate help. We offer consultations with a San Francisco pregnancy discrimination attorney to answer these questions for you at The Armstrong Law Firm.

What Are the Laws Regarding Lactation at Work? 

Lactation accommodation is the right that all nursing mothers have under Labor Code Section 1030. This allows for a reasonable amount of break time to be given to an employee who desires to express breast milk for the child’s needs. Each time the employee needs to express milk, this break must be provided. In addition to this, the break time should run concurrently with any break time already provided to that employee, but if that is not possible, the employee should be given other times to do so.

If an employer does not allow for this, the law states that a denial can result in the recovery of one hour of pay at the employee’s rate of pay for each violation of this.

While this falls under the state’s laws, it is also a federal law that falls under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Most employers are required to follow this act, providing nursing employees with reasonable access to breaks to express breast milk. Under federal law, this can continue for a full year after the birth of the child.

Know Your Rights Under the Law

Here are a few specifications you should know about these laws in California:

  • The law requires that employers provide breaks throughout the day to express milk.
  • The law does not require that the employer provide a way for the child to be breastfed at work, though.
  • Break times for expressing milk do not have to be paid breaks for the employee.
  • Under California law, this can continue beyond a year as long as the child continues to be nursing.
  • Employers must provide nursing employees with an adequate location, which needs to be a private room or space aside from a toilet stall.

There are some exemptions to this rule, many of which fall under the size of the employer or in situations where providing such breaks would cause serious disruption to the operations of the business.

Have Your Rights Been Violated?

Did your employer not accommodate your lactation needs? Learn how we can help you. Contact an employment attorney at The Armstrong Law Firm now to discuss your case and learn more about your rights to file for compensation if those rules were violated.