Just a few more days until the General Assembly wraps up for the current year. With the end upon us, employers need to stay up on the bills — some of which get lots of press, some of which don’t.
One of the bills that has been passed over the last few days — and signed by the Governor on Friday — updates the state’s laws on breastfeeding in the workplace.
Public Act 21-27 (formerly House Bill 5158) amends Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-40w to establish certain criteria for employer-provided areas used by employees to express breast milk.
I’ve previously discussed what the current law provides — “reasonable efforts” to provide a room or other location near an employee’s work area where the employee can express her milk in private.
The new law states that this area must — absent an undue hardship on the employer — :
- be free from intrusion and shielded from the public;
- include or be near a refrigerator an employee-provided portable cold storage device;
- have access to an electrical outlet.
None of this, frankly, should be all that difficult for employers to provide in many instances. Employers should try to work with employees who make such requests; it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. But the new law suggests some minimum requirements for employers to consider when receiving such requests.
The law becomes effective October 1, 2021.