On December 9, 2022, Governor Hochul signed legislation expanding New York’s required accommodations for breastfeeding in the workplace. The new law takes effect 180 days after signing, on June 7, 2023.
New York employers were already required to provide employees with reasonable break times and to make reasonable efforts to provide a space for employees to pump breast milk.
The new law expands the existing accommodations by requiring all New York employers to provide employees with convenient access to a private pumping space that includes access to running water, electricity and a working space. The space must be separate from a restroom and employees must be allowed to access the space each time they have a reasonable need to pump breast milk. If the workplace has access to refrigeration, employees must be able to access the refrigerator for the purpose of storing expressed milk.
Additionally, employers are required to adopt a written policy regarding employee rights when breastfeeding in the workplace. Employers must provide this written policy to employees at the time they are hired and annually thereafter. Employers must also provide this notice to employees returning to work after the birth of a child. New York City implemented similar requirements in 2018. We previously covered New York City’s requirements here.
All New York employers should review their lactation accommodations and ensure they have written policies that comply with the new law. As always, we are available to advise on these and other issues.