McLeod Witham

ACA Uncertainties: Do employers still need to provide lactation accommodations if the ACA is repealed?

Synopsis: 

California state law mandates that lactation accommodations must continue to be provided.

Among the questions we’ve been asked lately regarding the potential impact of the anticipated repeal of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) is whether employers in California must continue to provide lactation accommodations to employees, if the landmark healthcare law is repealed.  In short, yes

The ACA presently requires employers to provide “reasonable break time” for an employee to pump for up to one year after her child’s birth.  Employers are also required to provide a private and secure place for moms who need to pump, other than the bathroom.

Even if these provisions are repealed by Congress in the coming months, California state law nevertheless mandates that employers provide employees with lactation accommodations as needed.  The California Labor Code specifically requires all employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time for pumping and to make a reasonable effort to provide a private space, other than a toilet stall, close to the employee’s work area, to accommodate pumping.

It is anticipated that California’s lactation accommodation laws will remain in effect despite any repeal of the ACA’s lactation-related provisions.  Employers should therefore review their policies to ensure that they are following both state and federal laws at present, and carefully assess their obligations with regard to this issue in the event of a full or partial ACA repeal.