Close loopholes in CA laws to support breastfeeding moms at work

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Since 2002, California state law provides that employers must make "reasonable efforts" to accommodate lactating mothers with a private space to express milk, and that they be allowed to do so during their "normal" break times. (CA Labor Code Chapter 3.8, sections 1030-1033).  But the law also provides employers many ways out of making accommodations for employees.  Many employers still make it very difficult for working moms to find time to pump, find a place to store their milk, or even wash their pumping parts and accessories. For example, most state-owned buildings do not provide employees with kitchens or refrigerators. 

With this petition, we ask the women leaders of the California Senate to sponsor a bill to close the loopholes in the current law by: 

1) clarifying that a lactating mother should be able to choose the time of day when their breaks occur, or at minimum, a 1-2 hour window; 

2) requiring employers make "reasonable efforts" to provide a reasonable place for an employee to wash and sanitize breastpump parts and accessories, and provide a refrigerator for an employee to store expressed milk; 

3) allowing that employers who allege that they cannot meet these requirements can appeal to the Labor Commissioner.  

4) clarifying that a visitor to a state-owned office building for a business purpose should be permitted to use the lactation facilities in that state-owned building; 

4) Ensuring that the burden should not rest with the mother to prove that her employer can accommodate her.  The burden should be on the employer to prove why they cannot accommodate the working mother and/or why allowing breaks would "seriously disrupt" their operations. 

5) Increasing the penalty for violations of this chapter from $100 to $1000.  



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