Published January 11, 2021
The university demonstrates its support of working parents in many ways, including generous leave policies for new parents, subsidized child care programs, and other policies and resources designed to enhance work-life balance throughout the life of a family. Accommodations are also provided to employees who wish to express breast milk when they return to work.
Providing an appropriate location
Accommodations for employees to breast-feed or express breast milk must meet requirements under California state law.
When an employee requests an accommodation for breast-feeding or expressing breast milk, managers must ensure that the employee is provided with a space that is:
- not a bathroom, and
- free of hazardous materials.
The private space must also be in close proximity to the employee’s work area.
Appropriate locations would include the faculty or staff employee’s own private office, the private office of a supervisor or co-worker, a break room, or an available lounge or conference room with a locking door. It would not be appropriate to direct the faculty or staff employee to a room that includes a toilet, a room in another building, or any other room lacking privacy and a locking door. Arrangements also should be made to provide for temporary storage of breast milk and a sink with running water in reasonable proximity to the employee’s workspace. Departments are encouraged to identify appropriate facilities in advance.
If a school or department builds new space or remodels existing office space for faculty or staff, those planning the space are expected to consider the need for a space appropriate for accommodating the needs of employees requiring lactation accommodation. The space does not need to be exclusively set aside for this purpose, but available as needed. Where a multi-purpose room is used for lactation purposes, the use of the room for breast-feeding or expressing breast milk will take precedence over other uses, but only for the time it is in use for lactation purposes.
Flexible break times
Employees who are breast-feeding or expressing breast milk are entitled to request a lactation accommodation and must be provided reasonable break times for breast-feeding or expressing breast milk each time the employee needs to do so. Managers should attempt to provide as much schedule flexibility as reasonably possible to accommodate their needs. For non-exempt staff, if possible, the break time for breast-feeding or expressing milk should run concurrently with the rest periods already provided. If additional break time is needed, that time will be unpaid for non-exempt employees.
Lactation accommodation requests and support
Employees should contact their manager to request any needed lactation accommodation. In addition, an employee may work with Human Resources to request support regarding lactation accommodation, including assistance with identifying a designated or appropriate space to express breast milk or questions or concerns about the need for reasonable break time.
Additional resources and breast-feeding support are available from the Center for Work and Family Life at (213) 821-0800.
Individuals who believe this policy may have been violated should contact the USC Office for Equity, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX at (213) 740-5086. An employee also has the right to file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner for any violation of the right to a lactation accommodation in accordance with California law.
Designated lactation rooms
Each school and department is to ensure appropriate space for lactating mothers in their respective buildings. If you need help identifying lactation space in your department or unit, contact Human Resources at the number below.
Human Resources Administration
Questions about individual policies should be directed to the “responsible office” listed at the end of each policy. General questions may be emailed to email@example.com