Pension & Benefits News Four states expand breastfeeding rights of working women in 2018
Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Four states expand breastfeeding rights of working women in 2018

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

While working mothers made little headway on the federal legislation front in 2018, new mothers in four states got a little more support from laws that guarantee breastfeeding rights, including one that requires paid leave to express breast milk.

California. California employers must make reasonable efforts to provide employees with the use of a room or location other than a bathroom for breastfeeding purposes (i.e., the expression of breast milk). The location can be temporary. Agricultural employers would be in compliance if the employer provides an employee with a private, enclosed, and shaded space. If an employer can demonstrate to the Department of Industrial Relations that lactation accommodation would impose an undue hardship, the employer would be required to make reasonable efforts to provide a room or location for expressing breast milk that is not a toilet stall (Ch. 940 (A. 1976), L. 2018, eff. January 1, 2019).

Illinois. The Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Act was amended to provide for paid rather than an unpaid break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing infant each time the employee has the need to so express milk, for a period of one year after the child's birth. The break time may run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee (P.A. 100-1003 (H. 1595), L. 2017, eff. July 1, 2018).

New Jersey. Employers must provide reasonable break time each day and a suitable location for private expression of breast milk unless doing so poses an undue hardship on employers' businesses. In addition, civil rights protections have been expanded making it a civil rights violation for a working woman to be fired or otherwise discriminated against because of breastfeeding or expressing milk during breaks (Ch. 2017-263 (A. 2294), L. 2016, eff. January 8, 2018).

Utah. The Breastfeeding Protection Act was enacted to provide nursing and/or lactating mothers the right to breastfeed in any place of public accommodation. Generally this includes every place, establishment, or facility of any kind that offers services, facilities, or goods to the general public (H. 196, L. 2018, eff. May 8, 2018).

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