The California Labor Commissioner recently published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Memo regarding lactation accommodations under Labor Code Section 1030. While the FAQ memo does not contain any new concepts, it does clarify the following principles:
- California employers must provide a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked (or major fraction thereof). To the extent practicable, the break shall run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order;
- A “net” of ten minutes, means that the rest period begins when the employee reaches an area away from the work area that is appropriate for rest;
- An employee is entitled to one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each workday that a rest period is not provided;
- Employers are required to provide suitable resting facilities that shall be available to employees during working hours in an area separate from toilets. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of the law. Note, that federal law prohibits employers with 50 or more employees from requiring employees to express breast milk in a bathroom;
- An employer must allow an employee to leave the work area to pump, but the employer does not have to pay for pumping time, beyond the standard break time;
- As an employer, you are not allowed to require the employee to submit any documentation regarding her need to pump;
- An employer may not require an employee to remain on premises during a rest period;
- An employer may not require that an employee remain in radio communication during a rest period;
- An employer is not required to provide an employee break time for purposes of lactating if doing so would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.
The Labor Commissioner advises employees that they may file claims if their employers fail to meet their break obligations. If you have any questions regarding accommodations for lactation or any other employment issues, the attorneys at Navigato & Battin are here to help.