Public Breastfeeding Law

43.3. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may
breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the
private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child
are otherwise authorized to be present.

Enforcement Provision


Workplace Pumping Law

SECTION 1030-1033

1030. Every employer, including the state and any political
subdivision, shall provide a reasonable amount of break time to
accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the
employee’s infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run
concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee.
Break time for an employee that does not run concurrently with the
rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order of
the Industrial Welfare Commission shall be unpaid.

1031. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide the
employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a
toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the
employee to express milk in private. The room or location may
include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise
meets the requirements of this section.

1032. An employer is not required to provide break time under this
chapter if to do so would seriously disrupt the operations of the

[UPDATE] The California Fair Employment and Housing Act that states it is unlawful to engage in specified discriminatory practices in employment or housing accommodations on the basis of sex was amended in 2012 to clarify that the term “sex” also includes breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. This means the penalties for discrimination on the basis of sex under this Act now apply to discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding. See specifics below.



Enforcement Provision

1033. (a) An employer who violates any provision of this chapter
shall be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of one hundred
dollars ($100) for each violation.
(b) If, upon inspection or investigation, the Labor Commissioner
determines that a violation of this chapter has occurred, the Labor
Commissioner may issue a citation. The procedures for issuing,
contesting, and enforcing judgments for citations or civil penalties
issued by the Labor Commissioner for violations of this chapter shall
be the same as those set forth in Section 1197.1.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, violations
of this chapter shall not be misdemeanors under this code.


[Morale of  this story – file a complaint with California Department of Labor if you feel your rights are being violated under California’s Workplace pumping law.]

[penalty for violation of CA Fair Employment and Housing Act]
SECTION 1. Section 12926 of the Government Code is amended to
12926. As used in this part in connection with unlawful practices, unless
a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
(a)  “Affirmative relief” or “prospective relief” includes the authority to
order reinstatement of an employee, awards of backpay, reimbursement of
out-of-pocket expenses, hiring, transfers, reassignments, grants of tenure,
promotions, cease and desist orders, posting of notices, training of personnel,
testing, expunging of records, reporting of records, and any other similar
relief that is intended to correct unlawful practices under this part.

26 Responses to “California”

  1. Misty says:

    I bf all three of my children. Both my girls until 3 1/2yo. My son is 1 1/2 and still going. I always try to find a private place but there are times that’s not available. Once my girls hit two, if I couldn’t find a place, I would wait as I knew they were old enough to do so. I do respect those around me and don’t want to make others uncomfortable. The older a child gets, the more people freak out. But I am the first to tell any mom….. Child comes first and to not care what others think or do around them. I am very glad I have only had to deal with looks and whispers and I appreciate the occasional stranger who lets me know me that think it’s great that I breast feed.

  2. Coni says:

    I recently had my first born and I breastfeed…. At first I thought it would be weird to breastfeed in public but My baby was came first so i did it…. I covered up and it was pretty normal… No one really stares or says anything… I feel its becoming more and common.. Sometimes I even walk around the mall shopping while breastfeeding and no one even notices … I figure its legal so it’s my right….

  3. Laura says:

    I am pumping for my child at work and the only location that was made available is the bathroom. I mentioned that I pump to both HR and my boss but nothing has been done. My firm is a nationwide firm of more than 50 employees based in California but I work in Massachusetts. Which laws apply to me? How do I fix the situation?

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately (in your case), the law the applies is that of your workplace and MA has no workplace pumping protections (while CA does). Even though little can come of a report to the federal Department of Labor, I encourage people to do it. Perhaps at some point the numbers of women not receiving help will be released.

  4. Melanie says:

    I live and work in CA and am returning to work after maternity leave and my 3 month old is not accepting the bottle. My employer is willing to provide a separate, private, place from the bathroom for me to pump but they will not allow my nanny to bring the baby to my workplace and use that same, private, place to breastfeed. They said I can’t even breastfeed her in my car in the parking lot. Is this legal? Can’t I breastfeed in any location I’m “otherwise authorized” to be in?

    • admin says:

      Unfortunately, public breastfeeding laws do not apply to you when you are at work. And the CA state workplace pumping law does not cover breastfeeding. I feel for you since none of my kids would take pumped milk. Can you leave the premises entirely for your lunch break or any other breaks?

      • Melanie says:

        Thanks for your reply. Yes, that’s what I’ll have to do. They’re ok with me taking a long break every two hours to go nurse. I’ll only be working 4 hours a day. Bummer that Resolution Chapter 152 isn’t a law! I don’t understand why they differentiate between pumping and breastfeeding in the law. I don’t think moms have made these laws. . .

        • admin says:

          So true. What I am told is that breastfeeding in the workplace would never pass as a law. But there are many workplaces where this is done on an informal basis.

  5. Alyssa says:

    My job requires me to travel daily, including multiple trips to and from private residences and an office site. Under current law, what provisions must my employer provide for me to breast feed while in the field? I do not want to have to pump in my car. Any advice is welcomed. Thank you.

    • admin says:

      My interpretation of California’s workplace pumping law is that your employer must accommodate you wherever the employer is sending you to work. That law is enforced by the California Department of Labor and I recommend you call that office for advice.

      Good luck!

      • Brittanny says:

        I have the same issue going off site, I worked with my employers and created a schedule around my pumping breaks. I came back to the office to pump (I am more comfortable there). I figured they are my employer and it is their responsibility to provide me a locking room, not the site I am at. They paid my mileage too, we have really great laws here in Ca.

  6. Sophia says:

    I live in California , and returned to work 2 days ago . I was nervous to return just because they don’t have an assigned area to pump , the first day was fine , the person in charge told me to go pump in one of the empty rooms, so I did , but the next day I was going to go back to the same empty room and my manager stopped and told me I wasn’t able to pump in that room , because of the fact that its a clean patients room, to go pump in the bathroom that every other employee is doing that , that the even put a chair in their , and made it comfortable . We have about 5 people pumping right now in our unit alone . The problem here is that I think the rest of he employees are afraid to say anything , but I refuse to pump in a bathroom , she telling its a patients clean room , and she thinks its ok for me to express my baby’s milk , which I will be feeding in a dirty bathroom , it just doesn’t make sense . Could she do that ? How could I go about asking with not getting in trouble for a different location to pump ?

    • admin says:

      California state law protects you from having to pump in a bathroom. Contact the California Department of Labor immediately. If there is retaliation against you for reporting to the state, your employer is in very serious trouble.

      Good luck!

  7. Rebekah says:

    Just to make sure I understand right. I am allowed to take breaks to pump, but those are my breaks for the day, right? I cant take a pump break, then still take my normal break or lunch?

    • admin says:

      Correct. You are entitled to unpaid breaks only which, if you have regular breaks, must be that time. Yes, I agree. Dreadful but thus far no state or federal law requires employers to give you pump breaks plus regular breaks. Very few employees are actually legally entitled to break time at all.

  8. Jamie says:

    I am a breastfeeding/pumping mother and I’ve been back at work the last 7 months pumping on my break privately in the office. I work in a restaurant and it is the ONLY room with a locked door besides a bathroom stall. However my employer just recently installed 16 cameras in the workplace including one in the office. I have no privacy now and my employer tells me if I don’t like it I can pump in my car. I cannot go home to pump since I live too far and my breaks are unpredictable so I cannot have someone bring my child to work to breastfeed. My baby is only 10 months old and I’m worried that my milk will dry up if I go 9-10 hours a day without expressing milk. Any suggestions?

    • admin says:

      Contact the California Department of Labor and file a complaint. Your employer appears to be violating California’s workplace pumping law which requires you be provided with a private space – and the means free from cameras.

  9. Hannah says:

    Many medium and small businesses in California will ignore the law (it is too expensive to make a private, locking room available, there isn’t enough space, etc.), or make working there VERY hard for lactating women. It is really sad. They will actually find other reasons to site you to avoid looking bad. If you go back to work and find that the employer is harder on you, not willing to comply with reasonable requests (for breaks, or breastfeeding) start writing EVERYTHING down with dates, times, and witnesses. Just so you know, if you do get terminated from your employment, you should IMMEDIATELY seek assistance from a wrongful termination attorney. It is NOT about “frivolous lawsuits.” It is about making a statement that could lead to changing the world.

    • admin says:

      Also, everyone should be filing complaints with the CA Department of Labor which is supposed to be enforcing this law. Even if the DOL isn’t all it could be, it is vital that these complaints be filed and the response by the Department documented.

      Employment lawyers are not free so are not always a realistic option for many people in employment discrimination cases (and you don’t have to be terminated to have a claim). But filing complaint with the CA Department of Labor is available to everyone without a lawyer.

  10. Rebekah says:

    My HR lady is making things very stressful for me. Before going on leave I advised her I would be pumping. Upon my return there was no set policy in place. She gave me a room to use but said I had to cheque my pumping session with her as other people use that room from time to time. Also it is a room that doe not have a lock. And it i the room directly across from her office. One day she hd her lunch in there and made a stink about needing to get and me being late for my “scheduled time”. I then suggested to use another office and was told no. I was using my breaks and lunch to pump and then I was asked if I was clocking in and out for my pump sessions. Now I and required to combine my breaks and to split my lunch hour. Which I’m fine with. I spoke with my vp about getting some sort or company policy in writing and asked to be switched to a room with a lock. Today I was told I will stay in the same room but they will put a lock on the door. I feel harassed but I guess technically they are abiding by the law so what can I do? I want to contact the labor board but I’m not sure if I have a legitimate claim.

  11. Cecille says:

    I noticed in section 1030 that the employer must provide a reasonable amount of break time to express milk. How much time is considered reasonable? I’m a teacher and I have two breaks: one for 15 minutes and a 30 minute lunch. Is this enough time? I’m expecting my first baby and I have no idea on what it takes to express milk at work. I heard that ideally I should express milk for each missed feeding during the day but it looks like I’ll have to adjust to the school schedule.

  12. Jordan says:

    My wife and I live in Ca and my wife is a high school teacher. She recently went back to work, and is having a though time with her administration concerning her breast pumping schedule. She can pump during her lunch break, but the only other break she has is 1st period. This break time is not conducive to breast pumping. She has asked to move her break period to the last period or next to last period of the day. The response from administration: “your body will just have to adjust.” Stirs over 5 hours without pumping. Who should we consult?

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