New York State has adopted a law that requires employers to provide expanded accommodations for breast milk expression in the workplace. As part of this law, employers are required to provide a written policy to employees explaining their rights under the law regarding expressing breast milk in the workplace.
The New York State Department of Labor has published the policy that employers must distribute and must add to their employee handbooks if they have them. You will find the entire Policy by clicking on the following link: https://dol.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2023/06/p705-policy-on-the-rights-of-employees-to-express-breast-milk-in-the-workplace-single.pdf
The written policy must be provided to all employees when they are hired, and again every year thereafter, and also as soon as they return to work following the birth of a child.
The law provides the following minimum standards for employer accommodations:
Employers are obligated to provide convenient and private spaces for breast milk expression in the workplace. This lactation room or alternative location provided by employers must meet specific criteria: It should be close to the employee’s work area, have good lighting (natural or artificial), and offer privacy from view and intrusion. Accessible, clean running water should be readily available, and an electrical outlet must be provided if the workplace has electricity. The room should also be furnished with a chair and a desk, small table, counter, or other flat surface.
Employers do not need to allocate separate spaces for each nursing employee. They can dedicate a single room or location for breast milk expression. If multiple employees require access to a lactation room simultaneously, employers may designate a centralized location that can be used by all employees.
To request a location for expressing breast milk, employees should submit a written request to their direct supervisor or the designated individual in their workplace responsible for processing such requests. Employers are required to respond to these requests in writing within five days, ensuring prompt communication and accommodation for breastfeeding employees.
Breaks must be provided at least every three hours to express breast milk in the workplace if requested by the employee and must last a minimum of 20 minutes. While employees have the option to use their paid break time or mealtime for expressing breast milk, it is not mandatory.
This break time must be provided for up to three years following childbirth.
Book Law LLP stands ready to assist employers with all their compliance obligations.
If you have questions or concerns about this law or any federal or New York State employment or discrimination laws, please contact Chaim Book at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sheryl Galler at SGaller@booklawllp.com, or Nadav Zamir at NZamir@booklawllp.com.