The City of New York has imposed stricter requirements on ALL employers by amending the administrative code of the City of New York, in order to expand protections for nursing mothers.

Lactation RoomHere’s the breakdown…

NYC Local Law No. 185

NYC employers with 4 or more employees must make “reasonable efforts” to provide a “lactation room”, and a refrigerator suitable for breast milk upon request of breastfeeding employees, if it doesn’t impose an “undue burden” on the employer.

Lactation Room Requirements

  • Must be a dedicated, sanitary space other than a restroom; shielded from view or intrusion
  • Must include a chair, an electrical outlet, and a surface to place personal items;
  • Have nearby access to running water.
  • Must be in close proximity to the breastfeeding employees work area.

Although employers are not required to designate a room solely for lactation, if the designated lactation room will be used for other purposes:

  • It must be used solely as a lactation room during times when an employee is using the room to express milk;
  • Employers must provide notice to other employees that the room is given preference for use as a lactation room.

“Undue Burden”

If providing a lactation room is an “undue burden”, employers must discuss alternate accommodations/options and must provide an outcome of the request in writing.

NYC Local Law No.186

NYC employers with 4 or more employees are required to have a written lactation room policy that must be given to all new employees at the time of hiring.

Written Policy Requirements

  • Has to include a statement that employees have a right to request a lactation room;
  • Describe the process by which employees could request a lactation room;
  • Require that employers respond to a request within 5 days;
  • Provide a procedure for 2 individuals needing to use the room at the same time;
  • State that employers will provide a breastfeeding employee with reasonable time to express milk;
  • Provide a statement explaining the possibility of undue hardship and employer’s responsibility to discuss other options.

***The NYC Human Rights Commission has model lactation room policies, which can be used by employers to properly create their own.