New York Employment Law Update – December 2018

Ohio Employment Law Update – December 2018
December 3, 2018
Minnesota Employment Law Update – December 2018
December 3, 2018

New York

New York City Expands Protections and Rights for Lactating Workers

On November 17, 2018, the New York City Council passed two initiatives (Int. 879-2018 and Int. 905-2018) amending N.Y.C. Admin. Code §§ 8-102 and 8-107(22) and thus expand workplace protections for lactating mothers. Specifically, New York City employers are required to:

  • Designate a lactation room according to Int. 879-2018:
    • A lactation room is a sanitary place, other than a restroom, that can be used to express breast milk shielded from view and free from intrusion. The room must include, at a 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 also must provide a refrigerator suitable for breast milk storage, which along with the lactation room, must be within reasonable proximity to the employee’s work area.
    • An appropriately furnished lactation room must be provided upon an employee’s request, but it may also be used for other purposes when an employee is not using it to express milk. However, employers must provide notice to employees that the lactation room’s use for expressing milk takes priority over its use for any other purposes.
    • If providing a compliant lactation room would impose an undue hardship on an employer, the employer must engage in a cooperative dialogue with the employee(s) requesting it so as to determine if a reasonable accommodation is available.
  • Implement and provide a lactation accommodation policy according to Int. 905-2018:
    • Employers must provide employees with a written policy informing them of their lactation accommodation rights, which must include a statement that employees have a right to request the use of a lactation room.
    • The written policy must also include:
      • The process an employee must utilize to make a request for a lactation room.
      • That the employer will respond to a request for a lactation room within a reasonable amount of time, but no more than five days.
      • A procedure for when two or more individuals need to use the lactation room at the same time, including contact information for any necessary follow-up questions.
      • That the employer will provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk (per N.Y. Labor Law § 206-c).
      • That if providing a lactation room will impose an undue hardship on the employer, the employer will engage in a cooperative dialogue with the employee.

Employers must distribute the required lactation accommodation policy to all employees upon hire. The New York City Commission on Human Rights is in the process of creating a model policy and lactation request form.

These amendments are effective March 18, 2019.

Read Int. 879-2018 and Int. 905-2018

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