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May 2023: Reminder: New York Lactation Requirements Expand

17 May


Update Applicable to:

All employers in the state of New York

What happened?

As we communicated on December 21, 2022 (here), Governor Hochul signed Bill A01236A into law, which expands accommodations for nursing mothers beginning June 7, 2023.

What are the details?

Employers must designate a space employees can use to express breastmilk at work. The space must be well-lit, private, and near the employee’s work area. In addition, the designated lactation space must have:

  • A chair
  • A working surface
  • Access to clean running water nearby
  • An electrical outlet if the workplace has electricity.

The space can’t be a bathroom or toilet stall (this is the same under federal law). If the lactation space isn’t designated solely for lactation purposes, the employer is required to ensure that it’s available when an employee needs it and should make other employees aware that those who are lactating have priority access to the space.

The new law adds two notice requirements. First, employers are required to adopt a policy and distribute it to employees upon hire, once a year, and when returning to work after the birth of a child.

The policy must inform employees of their rights under the lactation accommodations law, tell employees how to request space at work to take lactation breaks, and promise that the employer will respond to lactation space requests within five business days. The law directs the New York Department of Labor to create a template policy.

Second, when an employer designates a space for lactation, it must inform all employees of the designation as soon as possible.

The changes to the law clarify that:

  • Employees are entitled to take a lactation break each time they need to express breastmilk.
  • Employers must allow employees to store breastmilk in refrigerators in the workplace, if any
  • Employees are protected from all forms of discrimination and retaliation for exercising their lactation accommodation rights

For more information, please see the links below:

Bill A01236A

Fact Sheet

New York State Announcement

Article, Article 2, Article 3

New York Lactation Accommodation Page (Includes Model Policies)

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the links provided above, designate a lactation room or space for their nursing employers, and adopt and distribute a compliant lactation accommodation policy to be provided to each employee upon hire and to those returning to work following childbirth.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's New York PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.

This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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