Thanks to three new laws, breastfeeding parents who work in New York have some critical new rights.
New York State just passed a law through the budget, championed by Governor Cuomo, to explicitly include lactation as a pregnancy-related condition as defined in existing law, making it crystal clear that employers cannot discriminate, and must accommodate, based on an employee’s need to express milk at work.
If you work in New York City, two new additional laws also just went into effect, requiring employers with 4 or more employees to provide a lactation room for employees and to have a lactation accommodation policy. Under the law, the room must be:
- a clean space, other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from others, and has at least one electrical outlet.
- It must also have a surface, such as a table or counter, where employees can place a breast pump, and a chair.
- There must be nearby access to running water and a refrigerator to store breast milk.
We were thrilled to work on all of these new provisions and to work with the City Commission on Human Rights on their newly-released model policies and comprehensive FAQs.
These state and local laws are critical since, as a recent Center for WorkLife Law report found, over 9 million women in the workforce who are of childbearing age have no clear right under federal law to time and space to pump breast milk. According to the report, in New York State alone, 712,000 women are uncovered under federal law.
If you have any questions about these new rights, or your lactation rights generally, visit our state-by-state “How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Pump” webpage or call our free, confidential legal helpline 1-833-NEED-ABB.
These new laws will ensure no woman in New York has to choose between breastfeeding and her job. And we won’t stop there. We’re committed to ensuring states around the country follow New York’s lead in supporting breastfeeding parents.