California Employment Laws Protect A Mother’s Right To Breastfeed

California law protects a mother’s right to breastfeed by ensuring nursing mothers have time and space to express breast milk at the workplace, and by prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of breastfeeding.

Under California law, “every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, is required to provide a reasonable amount of time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child.” Labor Code §1030. The break should be paid (if the employee is entitled to receive a 10-minute paid rest period under the relevant Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order). If the employee isn’t entitled to receive a 10-minute rest break, then the break to express breast milk will be unpaid.

The law also requires employers to ensure that the employee has the use of a private area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk. Employers are only exempt from these requirements if granting such a break would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.

California law also protects employees from discrimination and harassment based on sex, which includes breastfeeding and pregnancy.

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