San Francisco lactation room law could soon become a reality

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
San Francisco lactation room law could soon become a reality
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San Francisco lawmakers are working on a new law that would make it a requirement that all offices have a sanitary lactation room for employees who are still breastfeeding.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco may soon lead the way in supporting new moms who return to work and want to continue breastfeeding.

Under the new proposal, employers would have to have a lactation room for breastfeeding employees.

"So many women feel so uncomfortable asking employers for things they need after having a baby and returning to work," said San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang.

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On Tuesday, Tang introduced legislation setting minimum standards for accommodations.

Lactation rooms cannot be a bathroom and must be near the mom's work area. It must be clean, have a seat and table with close access to a sink, electricity and a refrigerator.

Some new moms working at city hall were unaware there was a private place.

"That would be very nice rather than having to go in the middle of tables and breastfeeding," said new mom Alexia Christianson.

Some employers may see complying as a burden, but the CEO of "Day One Baby", a company that sets up lactation stations for businesses like Microsoft, tells ABC7 News her clients understands the benefit.

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"To get a more productive workforce and also create retention," said Esther Kestenbaum, with "Day One Baby".

The proposal also calls for a hardship exemption, which may help gain support from small merchants.

"Small business doesn't want to have more regulations but if you don't have some it won't happen so we accept that," said Henry Karnilowicz, with the District Council of Merchants.

If passed, San Francisco's measure will be the strongest in the nation.