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 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.