McGeorge Adjunct Professor Chris Micheli

SB 142 requires an employer to provide a lactation room or location that includes proscribed features and would require an employer, among other things, to provide access to a sink and refrigerator in close proximity to the employee’s workspace.

The bill deems denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk to be a failure to provide a rest period in accordance with state law. The bill prohibits an employer from discharging, or in any other manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee for exercising or attempting to exercise their rights under these provisions and establishes remedies that include filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Section 1 of the bill amends Labor Code Section 1030 to specify that every employer, both private and public, must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child each time that the employee has a need to express milk.

Section 2 of the bill amends Labor Code Section 1031 by first eliminating the requirement that an employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide an employee with a location to express milk in private. By striking the phrase “make reasonable efforts to” it’s now a mandate to provide. In addition, the bill eliminates the close proximity requirement. In other words, the bill struck the phrase “other than a bathroom in close proximity to the employee work area.”

Section 3 of the bill amends Labor Code Section 1033. This Section now provides that a denial of reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk shall be deemed a failure to comply with Labor Code Section 226.7, which subjects an employer to a penalty and thereafter the employee may file a complaint with the state’s Labor Commissioner. The employee may report a violation to the Labor Commissioner’s field office enforcement unit and the local commission may impose a civil penalty of $100 for each day the employee was denied reasonable break time or adequate space to express milk.

Section 4 of the bill amends Labor Code section 1034 to require an employer to develop and implement a policy regarding lactation accommodation. The policy must include specified information and the employer must provide the information in the employee handbook and shall distribute that policy to new employees.

You can find a full transcript of the podcast here.

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