By: Dena B. Calo
Last week Philadelphia Mayor, Michael A. Nutter, signed into law, City of Philadelphia Bill No. 130922 (“the Bill” or “the Ordinance”), a City ordinance which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s need to express breast milk in the workplace. The Bill takes effect immediately. The Legislation amends Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance which now defines the failure to accommodate an employee’s need to express breast milk in the workplace as an unlawful employment practice. As a result, the failure to accommodate an employee’s need to express breast milk in the workplace “is discrimination based on sex and therefore an unlawful business practice…” Reasonable accommodations under the Bill include the following:
- Providing unpaid break time or allowing an employee to use paid break, mealtime, or both, to express milk and;
- Providing a private, sanitary space that is not a bathroom where an employee can express breast milk, so long as these requirements do not impose an undue hardship on an employer.
The Bill is similar to the 2010 Federal law which requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time to new mothers needing to express breast milk for up to one year after the birth of a child. The Bill, however, has no time restrictions and applies to all Philadelphia employers, no matter their size. This Bill comes on the heels of another recent amendment to Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance deeming it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail to reasonably accommodate an employee’s needs related to “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition…” Thus, the City’s recent actions clearly demonstrate its concern for the rights of pregnant employees and new mothers. If you have any questions or concerns regarding how this new legislation may affect your business or should need assistance in bringing your business into compliance with this new law, please contact Dena B. Calo at firstname.lastname@example.org or James Bucci at email@example.com.