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NYC Releases Model Lactation Policy and Request Form

As we wrote at the end of last year, employers in New York City are now required to have a lactation accommodation policy.  The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) recently released guidance, model policies, and a model request form for employers to use as a guide in crafting their own policies.  The materials can be found here.  Below is a summary of what the new guidance requires.

Three Components of the Guidance:

  • Employers must:

(1) provide adequate time for employees to express breast milk during the workday;

(2) provide a lactation room that is shielded from view and intrusion and has at least one electrical outlet.  It must have a table top or flat surface where employees can put breast pump parts and must have access to running water;

(3) have a written policy on lactation accommodations. 

Written Policy Specifics:

The written lactation policy must:

  • State how an employee can submit a request for a lactation room;
  • Guarantee the employer will respond to requests as quickly as possible, and no later than within 5 business days;
  • Explain what to do when two or more employees need to use the lactation room at the same time;
  • State the employer will provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk; and
  • Explain that if providing all aspects of the lactation room normally required by law would create an undue hardship for the employer, the employer will have a cooperative dialogue with the employee to determine an appropriate accommodation to enable the employee to express breast milk at work.

Notice Requirements:

  • All employees must be informed of their right to a lactation accommodation and the employer’s written policy on lactation accommodations upon being hired.
  • The Commission encourages employers to remind employees of their lactation rights before starting parental leave.
  • An employer must respond to a lactation accommodation request within 5 business days. However, in the interim, the employer must provide a temporary accommodation to the employee so the employee can pump in a manner that meets the employee’s immediate needs, unless doing so poses an undue hardship.

Reasonable Time to Pump:

  • Employers must allow employees to take time to pump during an already existing rest or meal break or as an extension of another break.
  • If the employee is not completely relieved of duties while pumping, the break must be paid.
  • If the employee uses a regular non-paid break to pump, there is no need to pay the employee.

An Employee’s Pumping Needs Dictate the Schedule:

  • An employer CANNOT require an employee to alter their pumping schedule. An employee’s pumping needs determine the schedule unless that schedule poses an undue hardship in which cases the employer must engage in a cooperative dialogue with the employee.

Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on civil rights issues and employment laws in general.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.454.0560.