Starting January 1, 2018, San Francisco requires employers to ensure that any space offered for lactation also includes a place to sit, a surface on which to place a breast pump and/or other personal items, access to electricity, and a nearby refrigerator in which the employee can store expressed milk. An employee’s lactation break time may be unpaid if it is not taken within or during an already-specified paid break. The Ordinance strictly prohibits retaliation against anyone who requests lactation accommodation or files a complaint with San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (“OLSE”).

The Ordinance sets forth building permit guidelines for the construction or renovation of lactation spaces. The private space may be used for other purposes – even among multiple employers – as long as there is room for all who need it, lactation is given priority over other uses, and other employees are aware of the room’s purpose.

What does this mean for you? Employers within San Francisco city limits must develop a lactation accommodation policy that (1) explains how an employee may request lactation accommodations, (2) requires the employer to respond within five (5) business days, and (3) allows for any necessary interactive process between employee and employer. Employers must also maintain written records of these interactions for three (3) years. Please click here for more details on such guidelines.

In 2018, the OLSE will first issue warnings and notices to employers who violate this Ordinance. Thereafter, the OLSE may impose a $500 administrative penalty, and a $50 penalty for each day the violation continues.

For more legal updates, check out our update for September 2017!

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