IMPORTANT LAW UPDATE FOR ALL EMPLOYERS IN NEW YORK CITY:
Effective March 18, 2019, the New York City Administrative Code will be amended to require employers in New York City with four or more employees to:
o Provide a designated lactation room for employees; and
o Implement a lactation room accommodation policy.
The law will require covered employers to provide employees needing to express breast milk with access to a lactation room and a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage, “in reasonable proximity” to the employee’s work area.
Under the law, a lactation room is defined as “a sanitary place, other than a restroom, that can be used to express breast milk shielded from view and free from intrusion and that includes at minimum an electrical outlet, a chair, a surface on which to place a breast pump and other personal items, and nearby access to running water.”
Employers would not be required to create a dedicated lactation room, but if the room designated for lactation is also used for other purposes then:
o The room must be used solely as a lactation room during times when an employee is using the room to express milk; and
o The employer must provide notice to other employees that the room is given preference for use as a lactation room.
If providing a lactation room creates an undue hardship for an employer, the employer is nevertheless obligated to engage in a cooperative dialogue with employees to determine what, if any, alternate accommodations may be available, and to provide a written final determination to employees at the conclusion of the cooperative dialogue process, identifying any accommodations granted or denied.
The written lactation room accommodation policy must be distributed to all new employees upon hire and to current employees. The policy must include a statement that employees have a right to request a lactation room and identify a process by which employees could request a lactation room.