New Connecticut Law Expands Lactation Accommodations
August 15, 2021 – Effective October 1, 2021, Connecticut’s “An Act Concerning Breastfeeding in the Workplace” will go into effect. This new legislation expands employers’ obligations to accommodate lactating and breastfeeding employees. It is part of a growing trend in workplace accommodations for such employees.
The new legislation amends and expands existing Connecticut law, which provides employees’ the right to breastfeed and express milk at work during their meal and break periods. The existing statute requires employers to take reasonable efforts to make available a “room or other location” for employees to breastfeed or otherwise express breast milk in private.
The amendment to the existing law sets forth additional requirements for the “room or other location.” As of October 1, 2021, the “room or other location” must:
- Be free from intrusion and shielded from the public while the employee expresses breast milk;
- Include or be situated near a refrigerator or employee-provided portable cold storage device in which the employee can store breast milk; and
- Have access to an electrical outlet.
Only Connecticut employers who can show an “undue hardship” are able to opt out of complying with these new requirements. For the purposes of the amendment, an “undue hardship” is defined as “any action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to facts such as the size of the business, its financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.” While it is true that claims of “undue hardship” will need to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, it seems that an average employer will be hard pressed to convince the state that compliance will cause it an undue hardship.
We recommend our Connecticut clients review their policies and procedures regarding this new legislation and get in compliance. For our clients outside of Connecticut, we suggest now might be a good time to review your state laws regarding lactation rooms knowing that this new Connecticut law appears the direction many states are heading. Also remember, even if there are no relevant state laws, federal law also requires lactation accommodations. For other articles we have written on this topic, click here and here.
Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.454.0560.