WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019 NURSING MOMS AND THE WORKPLACE « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles



California employers must make reasonable efforts to provide their lactating employees with the use of a room or location – other than a toilet stall – in close proximity to the employee’s work area for the employee to express breast milk in private.

Effective January 1, 2019, amended California Labor Code section 1031 will not permit the use of a toilet stall or bathroom – so as to further ensure working mothers can express breast milk in a cleaner and safer environment, benefiting both mother and child. Thus, under the amended law a single-stall bathroom with a chair next to the sink will no longer be acceptable.

Employers will be allowed to provide a temporary lactation location only if:

  • a permanent location is not available due to operational, financial, or space limitations;
  • the temporary location is safe and private while expressing milk;
  • it is only used for lactation while expressing milk; and
  • it meets the state law requirements concerning lactation accommodation (e.g., it’s not a bathroom).

Under the amended law, agricultural employers may provide a lactating employee with a private, enclosed and shaded space, such as an air-conditioned truck or tractor cab.

An employer may apply to the California Department of Industrial Relations for an exemption if it can establish that the lactation accommodation would constitute an undue hardship concerning the employer’s size, nature, or structure. However, employers will still be required to provide a location other than a bathroom, which can be difficult for small businesses already facing significant space constraints.

For further assistance, please contact one of our attorneys Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

November 21, 2018