IR #2010-13
May 13, 2010

Krisann Chasarik
Erika Monterroza


California Labor Commissioner Discusses State Workplace Lactation Accommodation Laws That Set the Standard for New Federal Regulations

Burlingame, CA—Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet today joined government health agencies and area hospitals at a seminar for employers to discuss the state’s workplace lactation accommodation laws and the benefits of effective accommodation programs.

Today many women elect to return to work soon after giving birth,” said Bradstreet. “They want to be a valuable member at work and still be able to care for their newborn. Compliance with California’s lactation laws is not only the right thing to do for these employees, it is also smart business because there are many cost benefits to employers.” 

California was among the first states to enact legislation for lactation accommodation.  Labor Code sections 1030 and 1031 became law in 2001 and mandate every employer, regardless of size, to provide a reasonable amount of time to accommodate expressing of breast milk and to make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a bathroom, to express milk in private.

Bradstreet discussed California’s lactation accommodation law during a forum in March at the White House hosted by the President and the first lady.  California’s law was a basis for the little-known provision included in the major health care reform bill that the President signed into law in March.  The federal lactation accommodation requirements are nearly identical to California’s.

During the seminar, Bradstreet and Denise Padres, Deputy Chief of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, answered questions and highlighted benefits for companies that provide workplace lactation programs, including more satisfied employees and cost savings to the company.

“Many businesses discover that having an effective lactation support program is good for their bottom line,” said Bradstreet.  “These companies see lower turnover rates, a reduction in health care costs, higher productivity and worker loyalty.”

Bradstreet also emphasized the need for employees to report violations of the lactation accommodation law, noting that it is not a law that can be addressed with enforcement sweeps.    
Since 2008, the Labor Commissioner’s office has been citing companies for failure to provide lactation accommodation as a result of investigations initialized after an employee filed a complaint.

Today’s event, attended by employers, business executives, and human resource managers took place at three hospitals on the Peninsula: the Mills Campus of Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo, Sequoia Hospital’s Health & Wellness Center in Redwood City and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View.

The networking series was sponsored by the California Breastfeeding Coalition, California WIC, First 5 of Santa Clara County, The Santa Clara Public Health Department, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Sequoia Hospital, El Camino Hospital, Lactation Navigation LLC, the Northern California Human Resources Association and The Business Case for Breastfeeding.

The Labor Commissioner’s office (the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement) adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complains, and enforces state labor law. Employers who want to learn more about the division, workers’ comp or other state labor laws can visit our Web site at   Employees with work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757. 

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