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New Lactation Room Requirements

Per a study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2018, women at the end of their childbearing years (ages 40 - 44) are more likely now to become mothers than they were a decade ago. In conjunction, in 2016, mothers spent about 25 hours a week on paid work, compared with 9 hours per week in 1965.

With motherhood ticking up after years of decline, the new, expanded lactation room requirements for employers (with 4 or more employees are more relevant than ever.

Taking into effect in March 2019, the two bills signed by the NYC Counsel will have the following impact:

Bill, Int. No. 879-A

Employers must provide employees needing to express breast milk access to a lactation room as well as a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage.

The room must be:

o Within reasonable proximity

o A sanitary place (other than a restroom)

o Free from intrusion.

o Additionally, the room must contain:

  • An electrical outlet

  • A chair

  • A surface on which to place a breast pump and other items

  • Nearby access to running water.

Bill, Int. No. 905-A

Employers are required to adopt a written policy regarding the rights to a lactation room, as well as the process in which employees could request said space.

Additional items include:

  • A lactation room submission request process

  • A requirement for the employer to respond within a reasonable about of time

  • A space that the employer will provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk

  • Provide procedures to follow when more than one individual need to use the lactation room at the same time

The implementation and full support of these changes offers not only a safe space for mothers, but communicates a message of support and empowerment.

If you have any questions or feel that implementing these changes would cause an undue hardship for your organization, please contact your HR Representative.

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