Employers In Philadelphia Now Required To Allow Breastfeeding In The Workplace To All Employees

Written by: Natalie Klyashtorny

On September 3, 2014, Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law the Breastfeeding Accommodation Bill No. 130922, requiring all employers located in the City of Philadelphia, regardless of size, "to reasonably accommodate an individual’s needs to express breast milk.”

A reasonable accommodation for an employee who is breastfeeding is defined under the new law as “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.”

The new law, which took effect immediately, extends benefits that are already provided under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).  ACA, however, does not protect women employed in executive, administrative or professional jobs.

The Breastfeeding Accommodation Bill No. 130922 applies to all employees and offers exemptions to employers only in the event that they can demonstrate that such an accommodation would constitute an “undue hardship”.

The factors used to determine whether an employer will suffer an “undue hardship” are: (i) the nature and cost of the accommodation; (ii) the overall financial resources of the employer’s facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; (iii) the overall financial resources of the employer, including the size of the employer with respect to the number of its employees and the number, type and location of its facilities; and (iv) the type of operation or operations of the employer, including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce, the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the employer.

Employers that fail to comply with the new law could potentially face fines of $2,000.00 in addition to compensatory damages.