Lactation Accommodations in New York City Workplaces

In November 2018, New York City (NYC) passed two laws that require employers to provide lactation accommodations to employees who request them. The NYC Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recently released guidance on these accommodations, as well as resources related to the laws.

It is important to note that the laws do not have a posting requirement; however, employers must abide by certain other requirements, some of which we’ve outlined below.

What Employers Need to Know

Local Law 185 and 186 require employers to provide the following lactation accommodations to their employees:

  • A lactation room where employees can pump/express breast milk
  • Reasonable break time in which to pump/express breast milk

In addition, employers must give all new employees, upon hire, a written lactation policy that meets particular requirements of the laws. Several model lactation accommodation policies have been developed by the NYC Commission on Human Rights. Employers may choose the model policy that best fits their workplace; for example:

  • A policy for workplaces that have at least one dedicated lactation room
  • A policy for workplaces that have a multipurpose space—other than a restroom—that may be used for lactation
  • A policy for workplaces that have no available space for a lactation room

The NYC Commission on Human Rights has also created a Model Lactation Accommodation Request Form, which employees must submit to their employer. The employer must respond to an employee’s request for accommodation within 5 business days.

For more information about these requirements and other resources related to the laws, here is a link to the lactation page on the NYC CHR website.