Becoming a mother is a life changing experience, and it brings a set of new responsibilities, especially for working mothers. In California, there are laws in place to support the well-being of both mothers and their babies. One important provision is the right for mothers to take breaks at work to express breast milk. In this blog, we’ll explore California’s laws regarding this crucial aspect of workplace rights and the benefits it brings to mothers, children, and employers.

What Does the Law Say?

In California, the right for mothers to express milk at work is protected by the California Labor Code, which aligns with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) but provides more generous protections for employees.

Section 1030 of the Labor Code provides as follows: “Every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child each time the employee has need to express milk. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. Break time for an employee that does not run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order of the Industrial Welfare Commission shall be unpaid.” Cal. Lab. Code §1030.

As you can see this section mandates that employers provide reasonable break time to accommodate an employee’s need to express breast milk for her infant child.

Section 1031 of the Labor Code provides in part as follows:”(a) An employer shall provide an employee with the use of a room or other location for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. (b) A lactation room or location shall not be a bathroom and shall be in close proximity to the employee’s work area, shielded from view, and free from intrusion while the employee is expressing milk. (c) A lactation room or location shall comply with all of the following requirements:(1) Be safe, clean, and free of hazardous materials, as defined in Section 6382. (2) Contain a surface to place a breast pump and personal items. (3) Contain a place to sit. (4) Have access to electricity or alternative devices, including, but not limited to, extension cords or charging stations, needed to operate an electric or battery-powered breast pump. (d) The employer shall provide access to a sink with running water and a refrigerator suitable for storing milk in close proximity to the employee’s workspace. If a refrigerator cannot be provided, an employer may provide another cooling device suitable for storing milk, such as an employer-provided cooler. Cal. Lab. Code §1031(a) through (d).

Section 1032 of the Labor Code provides as follows: An employer is not required to provide break time under this chapter if to do so would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.” Cal. Lab. Code §1032.

Contact Akopyan Law Firm A.P.C. for Advice

In California, a mother’s right to take breaks at work to express milk is a legally protected right. By providing this essential support to working mothers, employers contribute to the well-being of both mothers and their infants, demonstrate compliance with labor laws, and foster a more supportive and inclusive workplace. Embracing this responsibility not only helps meet legal obligations but also strengthens employee morale and loyalty. It’s a win-win situation that empowers mothers to balance their work and family responsibilities, contributing to a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce in the Golden State.

If you have questions about this or other facets of employment law, feel free to reach out to Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. With years of extensive experience, hundreds of content clients, exceptional outcomes, a complimentary case evaluation, and contingency fee basis, it’s clear why Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. stands as the preferred choice throughout Southern California. Empower your rights and ensure a fair workplace.