Nicole Rice

Bill expanding employer obligations for lactation accommodation reintroduced

By Nicole Rice, Policy Director, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Jan. 28, 2019

Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) has reintroduced his 2018 legislation that required employers to provide a lactation room, other than a bathroom, near the employee’s workspace. 

Largely based on a San Francisco ordinance, SB 142 is very similar to last year’s SB 937 that was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 142 specifies that the lactation room must include several prescribed features and that an employer must also provide access to a sink and refrigerator. Additionally, the proposal imposes new building standards by requiring the California Building Standards Commission to adopt new rules that require the installation of lactation space for certain new or remodeled buildings, provisions that had been subsequently removed from last year’s bill as it moved through the legislative process.

In his SB 937 veto message, Governor Brown noted that he had signed a different bill requiring employers to "make reasonable efforts" to provide women with lactation facilities – AB 1976 (Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara) Chapter 940, Statutes of 2018. CMTA worked with the author to include a hardship provision in that bill to facilitate compliance for small manufacturers that have facility limitations.

Proponents of this more expansive proposal are hoping for a better outcome under a new Governor. 

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