AN ACT relative to workplace lactation rights.


SPONSORS: Rep. Abel, Graf. 13; Rep. Bartlett, Merr. 19; Rep. Fargo, Straf. 14; Rep. Stavis, Graf. 13


COMMITTEE: Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services






This bill directs employers to provide access to reasonable accommodations for employees who are lactating.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty One


AN ACT relative to workplace lactation rights.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1  New Subdivision; Workplace Lactation Rights.  Amend RSA 275 by inserting after section 77 the following new subdivision:

Workplace Lactation Rights

275:78  Workplace Lactation Rights.

I.  In this section, "lactation" means both the production and secretion of milk by the mammary glands.  Lactation includes breastfeeding, chestfeeding, expressing milk, pumping and other methods to extract milk from the mammary glands.

II.  An employee who is lactating may express breast milk or breastfeed at her workplace anywhere she is authorized to be.  

III.  An employer shall provide adequate unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid break time or meal time each day for the purpose of lactation.  Lactating employees who are away from their babies during the workday typically need to express milk using a breast pump 2-3 times during an 8-hour work period and 3-4 times during a 12-hour shift to maintain their milk production and avoid health complications.  In addition to the 15-20 minutes typically needed to express milk, most need additional time to walk to and from the pumping location, set up their pump, clean up, and store their milk.

IV.  An employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide access to a designated lactation space and adequate facilities for breastfeeding.  The designated lactation space shall be a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express milk in private.  Adequate facilities for breastfeeding shall mean a sanitary indoor place, or other location, other than a bathroom or toilet stall, that is shielded from view from intrusion from co-workers and the public.  The lactation space shall have, either in the room where it is located or nearby, access to a sink, refrigerator or cooler, and an electrical outlet.

V.  An employer shall not be required to compensate an employee receiving reasonable break time for the purpose of lactation, provided such break shall be documented as a break for such purpose.  Where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break for lactation shall be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.  In addition, the employee shall be completely relieved from duty or the time shall be compensated as work time.

VI.  An employee who is lactating after the death of her child, in order to donate milk, shall be permitted lactation breaks for as long as needed.

VII.  An employer that employs fewer than 6 employees shall not be subject to the requirements of this chapter, if such requirements would impose an undue hardship by causing the employer significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature, or structure of the employer's business.  Any exemption under this paragraph shall be determined by the department of labor.  The department shall grant the exemption in writing and provide a copy of the exemption to any employee requesting accommodations under this section.

VIII.  An employer shall not retaliate or discriminate against an employee who exercises or attempts to exercise the rights under this section.  It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to discharge, expel, or otherwise retaliate or discriminate against any person because the person has filed a complaint, testified, or exercised the rights under this section.

IX.  Each employer subject to the requirements of this section shall post in a place accessible to employees a notice regarding the requirements of this section.

X.  Any employer violating this chapter shall be subject to a civil penalty, to be imposed by the labor commissioner in accordance with the procedures established in RSA 273:11-a.  An employer aggrieved by the commissioner's assessment of such penalty may appeal in accordance with RSA 273:11-c.

XI.  Any party aggrieved by a violation of this section may:

(a)  File a discrimination claim with the state commission for human rights under RSA 354-A.

(b)  File a claim for protection under the whistleblowers' protection act, RSA 275-E.

(c)  Bring a civil action for temporary or permanent injunctive relief and economic damages, including prospective lost wages, and investigative and court costs.

(d)  Participate in voluntary mediation through a restorative justice program, provided that participation in such a program shall not prevent or preclude subsequent legal action.

2  State Commission for Human Rights; Unlawful Discriminatory Practices.  Amend RSA 354-A:7, VI to read as follows:

VI.(a)  For the purposes of this chapter, the word "sex" includes pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions [which result from pregnancy].  "Related medical conditions" include, but are not limited to, lactation and breastfeeding.

(b)  An employer shall permit a female employee to take leave of absence for the period of temporary physical disability resulting from pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.  When the employee is physically able to return to work, her original job or a comparable position shall be made available to her by the employer unless business necessity makes this impossible or unreasonable.

(c)  For all other employment related purposes, including receipt of benefits under fringe benefit programs, pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions shall be considered temporary disabilities, and a female employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be treated in the same manner as any employee affected by any other temporary disability.

(d)  It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer not to provide access to reasonable accommodations for an employee who is breastfeeding.

3  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2022.